PayPal LogoPayPal is a popular choice when it comes to payment options. For many Zen Cart owners the question is which one since there are three different modules. They are Express, Standard and Payments Pro. You can find a detailed explanation of all three in the Zen Cart FAQ section. Here’s a short version:

PayPal Payments Standard: with this method, your customer is taken to the PayPal as the very last step of placing an order. They can pay with or without a PayPal account (PayPal limits this for some countries). After payment is completed, PayPal returns the shopper to your store to complete the order. **IF there is any problem in PayPal’s ability to communicate to your store, you will never see the order in your store (or receive the confirmation email from your store), because it relies entirely on PayPal’s server being able to talk to your server in order to store the order. When this happens, you do get the payment from PayPal but the order does not exist.

PayPal Express Checkout: gives the customer two options: They can jump over to the PayPal site to login to their account BEFORE completing checkout on your store (which allows them to select their address information there and never have to re-type their address details on YOUR site, thus the “express” part of the transaction) and then choosing shipping choices and discounts/coupons etc before completing the order ……. OR they can go to the PayPal site to login to their account AFTER making shipping/payment/coupon selections on your site (and creating an account on your store and typing their address info on your store), much like they do with Standard.   They can pay with or without a PayPal account as long as your PayPal option of ‘PayPal Account Optional’ is set to ON.

The big difference is Express doesn’t have to rely on the PayPal server to talk to your server in order to store the order. Instead, it stores the order immediately when payment is completed so avoids the big downside with the Standard method. But, this is true only if the customer logs into their account before completing checking, thus the ‘Express-ness’. If they do so at checkout, the same potential problems that exist with the Standard still apply.

Website Payments Pro: is basically a merchant account. Your customer will enter their credit card information while on your site and PayPal does the processing in the background. To use this option, there is a there is an account application process and credit check and PayPal charges a monthly fee. Details can be found on the PayPal site.

If you are going to offer PayPal as a payment option, we recommend the Express option over Standard.

If you want to accept credit cards directly on your site, Payments Pro is one option to consider as your merchant account provider. is one of the largest providers in the US and another option to consider.

If you have questions about this options or need installation or configuration help, please see our services or contact us.