How to Set up an Online Store with PayPal and Start Accepting Payments Today

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PayPal is one of the most popular payment systems in the world and if you’ve ever bought something online, chances are you’ll have heard of it or even used it.

When building an online store you need to have a robust checkout system in place that users trust. That’s where PayPal comes in.

Trusted by over 390 million people worldwide, if you run your online store using PayPal you can pretty much guarantee that customers will feel comfortable trusting you with their sensitive information. There’s nothing like a global brand name to instill a bit of confidence.

If you’re still not sure if PayPal is the right choice for your online store or if you’re ready to set it up but don’t know where to begin, this article is for you. You’ll find everything you need to know about how to set up an online store with PayPal and more!

Why Small Businesses Use Paypal

Many small businesses decide to use PayPal for their online stores. There are various reasons for the popularity of the platform including:

  • Convenience – PayPal accepts various payment methods which makes it easy for your customers to use. It also enables you to run all payments through the same provider.
  • Security – Whilst nothing is ever 100% foolproof, as a global provider PayPal has robust security measures in place giving both you and your customers peace of mind.
  • Neutrality – PayPal is a neutral third-party platform which means you can be sure they will solve any potential disputes or problems fairly.
  • All-inclusive – PayPal handles every aspect of the transaction from invoicing to receiving the payment and dispute solution, allowing you more time to focus on your business.
PayPal is trusted by millions of users worldwide.

Another thing that makes PayPal so appealing to small business owners is that it’s compatible with many major ecommerce website builders such as Wix and Shopify.

Pros and Cons of Setting up an Online Store with PayPal

Pros of Using PayPal Cons of Using PayPal
Accepts multiple different payment methods including credit cards. There are high fees for chargebacks which can cripple a small business.
Manages the whole process of transactions so you don’t have to. Not everyone is willing to use PayPal which may result in lost custom.
Easy to set up and use. Contacting PayPal’s customer service team is notoriously difficult.
Customers are already likely to be familiar with the platform but won’t need a PayPal account to make a purchase. PayPal can suspend your account at any time and freeze your funds.
PayPal fees are relatively low compared to other merchants.
Safe and secure.

PayPal Fees

If you decide to use PayPal as the main payment service for your online store then you will be subject to various fees.

Monthly Fees

Depending on the plan you choose, you may have to pay a monthly fee. Whilst standard accounts are free, advanced accounts face a $5 monthly fee whilst pro accounts are met with monthly payments of $30.

The different plans offer merchants different customization options for the checkout process on their online store.

Transaction Fees

Alongside your monthly PayPal fee, you will also pay a transaction fee for each purchase made from your online store.

These fees are dependent on various factors including the location of your customer and the type of product or service the transaction is acquiring.

We recommend checking out the PayPal website where you’ll be able to find the most up-to-date information about current transaction fee rates.

Setting up an Online Store with PayPal

Setting up an online store with PayPal couldn’t be simpler and below we’ve broken down the steps you need to follow to get started.

Create an Online Store

In order to use PayPal within your online business, you’ll need to create an online store with its own storefront and shopping cart.

There are various ecommerce website builders that support PayPal but we recommend opting for either Shopify, BigCommerce, or Wix.

The great thing about these website builders is that they require very little technical know-how or coding skills and have payment options that suit all budgets. You can also customize how your online store looks and functions.

Shopify – Shopify is one of the most popular ecommerce website builders and is ideal for larger stores. The platform offers extensive design and customization options as well as over 3,000 apps available to install.

Shopify is one of our most recommended ecommerce website builders and is fully compatible with PayPal.

BigCommerce – BigCommerce is ideal for those who want to combine a user-friendly ecommerce store with extensive SEO features. It also offers multi-platform integration allowing you to sell across other marketplaces and on social media.

Wix – Wix is a great option for those looking for a beginner-friendly website builder that still has advanced ecommerce tools available. Fully customizable, Wix websites can feature key aspects such as multi-channel selling and abandoned cart recovery.

Set up PayPal Payments

Once you’ve created your online store you’ll then need to set up the ability to accept PayPal payments. In order to do that you’ll need to:

  1. Create a PayPal business account. Even if you have a personal account you’ll need to create a business account for your store.
  2. Connect your PayPal account to your website.
  3. To create PayPal “pay now” buttons on your website generate the HTML code and copy and paste it into the code of your website.

The process for connecting PayPal is slightly different from builder to builder. Below, we’ve described how to do it for Shopify, Wix, and BigCommerce. Just click on the ‘+’ symbol next to each header to find out more.

Navigate to Payments through your Shopify Admin. Activate PayPal in the Supported payment methods section and enter the log-in credentials to your PayPal business account. Ensure you have approved permission for Shopify within your PayPal permissions page.
Navigate to Accept payments through your Wix dashboard. Click connect next to the PayPal option. Enter the log-in credentials for your PayPal business account and sign in.
Navigate to Store setup > Payments through your BigCommerce dashboard. Select Online payment methods and scroll down to PayPal, click set up. Click the Connect with PayPal button and log in to your PayPal business account. Ensure you have approved permission for BigCommerce within your PayPal permissions page.

Alternatives to PayPal

There are, of course, other payment options you can consider if you don’t think PayPal is the right choice for you.

For some merchants PayPal fees are too high, they need a more flexible system or they would prefer a platform with better customer service. If that sounds like you then there are still plenty of options available.

Stripe is an alternative to PayPal that continues to grow in popularity.

Our most recommended alternatives to PayPal for setting up your online store are:

How to Set up an Online Store with PayPal: A Summary

PayPal is a global name for a reason. Trusted by millions of users, both customers and merchants, it offers online stores flexibility and freedom to create a checkout solution that works for them.

We hope you’re finishing this article with a greater understanding of why online stores often choose to use PayPal and how you can set up a PayPal checkout on your own ecommerce website.

To recap, some key things to remember are:

  • PayPal is convenient, trusted, safe, and secure.
  • Not everybody is willing to use PayPal so you’ll need to determine how much business you face losing (the likelihood is, not much!)
  • There are monthly fees to pay depending on your user plan as well as transaction fees that you’ll need to account for.
  • PayPal can be linked to all the major ecommerce website builders such as Shopify, Wix, and Bigcommerce.

If you feel inspired and want to find out more about setting up your online store and accepting payments be sure to read our article on exactly that – it’s full of expert tips and advice.


Using PayPal for your online store has many benefits including an all-inclusive payment package, security, neutrality to solve disputes, and an easy-to-use interface and setup.
Depending on the membership plan you opt for you may have to pay a monthly fee that ranges from $5-$30. There are also transaction fees to consider that differ depending on the circumstances of each purchase.
All the major ecommerce website builders are compatible with PayPal but for the best results, we recommend Shopify, Wix, or BigCommerce.
Yes, in order to integrate PayPal with your online store you’ll need to open a PayPal business account. This is separate from any existing personal PayPal accounts you may already have.
Written by:
Black and white headshot of Lucy Nixon smiling at the camera
I’ve been a content writer for Website Builder Expert since 2021. Through almost a decade in the digital marketing industry, I’ve built up knowledge on everything from growing ecommerce businesses to building websites. I love breaking down tricky topics into digestible and engaging content for readers. Breaking down the jargon and uncovering the best platforms, tools, and strategies, I’m a meticulous researcher who’s committed to providing our readers with tips and advice that’s tried and tested.

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