Using PayPal's email used for payment for creating new user's account

I am trying to figure out the most basic, simple way for users to register on the site. The site and the service it offers is rather small but still requires an account and ability for users to pay. Do you think the scenario described below is possible?

Imagine this. You come to a site, let’s call it, Elephantator, and want to purchase the service offered on that site. Before doing so, you must pay. You don’t have an account yet but nevertheless pay for the service using PayPal. The email you used to pay for the service has been automatically used on the Elephantator to create a new user account for you. After payment has been successfully completed, you are redirected back to the site and only need to choose the password for your new account. After this stage, you’ve got yourself an account on Elephantator and can use their services.

Assuming the user has paid using his own PayPal account, is it even possible to scrape user’s PayPal email for creation of new account? I am not familiar with all parts of PayPal’s API and thus am not sure if this would work.

Second potential problem is that not all users have PayPal accounts and thus some would pay using credit card details. In that case, the user would have to choose both, new username and new password.

What is your own opinion about such way to register users? Have you seen anything similar to this or have examples of incredibly simple ways for users to register and pay for new services?

So on our site i have a form that users fill in and when submitted stores their info in a database with ‘pending’ and then forwards them to worldpay. When they complete the purchase worldpay sends back some variables to say who they are and that it was successful. My table is then updated to say they have paid.

I assume paypal has similar variables that are returned you can use.

You can obviously add addition bits for the user to update once complete such as password. Again with credit card i would assume that paypal would still return some variables that can be used to update from


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That is almost exactly the way that I use to register new club members who pay their joining fee via Paypal except that I collect all the information about them first and them process the Paypal payment using a pre-defined invoice number so that the payment can be matched back to the member info after being processed. A lot of members sign up using a relative’s Paypal account so while I log the name and email address of the Paypal account ujsed I don’t assume that it is going to match the member joining.

Thanks @felgall, seems like the most reasonable option. I just realized that creating an account for user automatically might also be not so ethical, at least if it’s not somehow obviously stated.

you can easily add a tick box that says ‘create an account when purchasing’ etc and use that. You can still obviously collect their data anyway as it is part of a transaction with you and is needed for record keeping etc.

As @felgall says an invoice number or cart id is the best to match on. I didn’t expand and it but i use cart id and transaction id for worldpay. I assume paypal has similar.


Thanks, good observation :wink:

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