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How to Get Money via PayPal in (almost) One Click

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In this article, I'll show you how to create a URL -- a simple hyperlink -- for use on a web page or in an email so that when somebody clicks it, they can give you money.

Here's how the link will look:  Buy me a beer!

The person who clicks the link is presented with a Secure PayPal web page, and he or she can then choose to login to PayPal or just use a credit card to send the funds to your PayPal account.
Your donation page:  What the Clickee seesAnd of course, the potential donor can also choose NOT to send you money, simply by closing the browser window or otherwise leaving the web page.  
This is not a scam.  There is no trickery involved.  PayPal provides this service to anyone who has a PayPal account.  There is no chance that somebody might accidentally send you money when they thought they were doing something else.  This technique is entirely honest.[/step]


Get a PayPal account.  It's easy.  
Nearly everybody already has one.  Just click this link: https://paypal.com and sign up.
PayPal's screens may change, but I'm confident that the process will remain basically the same.  Here are the steps:


Go to your PayPal profile.  
Click My Account, and Profile.
Get to PayPal's Create a Button page


In the Profile page, look below the Selling Preferences heading.
My Screen has "My Saved Buttons" but yours may say "Create payment button."
Create Payment button (or My Saved Buttons)


There are several options, but the simplest (and best for today's exercise) is to create a Donation type payment for a fixed amount:
a) Select Donations from the top drop-down,
b) Enter "Organization name" (I used Dan's Beer Fund)
c) Select Donors contribute a fixed amount and
d) Enter an amount (I used $5.00)
Settings for a URL-only payment link


Set what's shown on top.   The Transactions notifications option is important because the text there will be displayed to the donor.  Your PayPal account can be associated with multiple email addresses, and I chose to show a newly-created Yahoo email address, since Yahoo mail is good at filtering out spam (always a risk when an email address is displayed to the public.)


Click [Create Button] to bring up this page:
The URL is under the Email tabThere are two options here.  You can generate a "web form" that you can copy-and-paste into a web page (the "Website" tab) OR you can create a one-click URL -- which is what we are doing today.  

So click the Email tab, click the Select Code button and then press Ctrl+C (or right-click and choose Copy) to get the text of the URL onto your clipboard.  Here's mine:

Open in new window

That's all there is to it.

The key is that unique ID at the end.  PayPal associates that with all of the settings that you made earlier.   You can paste that URL into an email, OR you can put it into an <A> tag anywhere on any web page.

For instance:  If you click the following link:
       Buy Dan a Beer
... you will get to my PayPal-hosted donation page.


PayPal charges a transaction fee.  As of this writing, that is $0.30 plus about 2%.  If you play around with this for a while, you'll see that there is an option that lets your donor type in any amount.  That seems like a good idea, but if the would-be donor types in less than $0.32, then you will get nothing!
PayPal provides a means to display the familiar gold-colored "Donate" or "Buy Now" button (or even a button you created from scratch).  And it lets you set up a drop-down list of options; you can even have a "Add to Cart" button, and so forth.

But these things require that that you have control of a web page; the PayPal-generated code creates a form -- and that's great when you have a website.  But if your only option is to enter a URL (at places such as forums) then this one-click (Email-ready) option is the only way to go.
The actual URL that PayPal provides is an https:// (secure) URL.  But some forums will reformat your URL so that it begins with http://https:// (messing things up).  I found that removing the entire first part (and starting the URL with paypal.com) works fine:  PayPal redirects to a secure page automatically.
Although this technique is limited, PayPal lets you create multiple buttons.  For instance, both of these go to Dan's Beer Fund:
    Buy me a beer! ($5.00)
    Buy me a soda pop  ($1.00)

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      Was this article helpful?
label that is just below and to the right of this text.   OR  Buy me a beer
LVL 31

Expert Comment

Awesome, let me know when you have enough so you can buy me one too...

What? You did not intend to keep it all for yourself, did you?
LVL 60

Expert Comment

by:Jim Dettman (Microsoft MVP/ EE MVE)
Nice article Dan!

LVL 50

Author Comment

I was tempted to go with the Buy me a car! version, but then Cher slapped me in the face...
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Expert Comment

by:Lounge Fox
Very cool.

Expert Comment

by:Bob Stone
I have used this method before, it works well. $5 is a bit expensive for a beer though.
LVL 50

Author Comment

Perhaps it's not obvious from the article, but it is possible to set up fixed-donation with any specific amount, and you can even let the donor enter a random value.  $5.00 was used as an example.

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