PayPal for Online Course Creators

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PayPal is a worldwide online payment system that allows small businesses to accept payments from credit cards as well as transfer money to and from their PayPal account.


Who PayPal is For:

PayPal offers tools to accept payments with no up front expenses, instead only paying transaction fees. Businesses can request payments from clients as well as set-up PayPal payment forms.

Skill Level:

It’s easy to set-up a PayPal business account. It just requires a little activation from within your personal account. Simply add a button to your website and you can start accepting payments from PayPal immediately. Alternatively, you can integrate PayPal into another tool to accept payments more seamlessly using an option like PayPal Express. Depending on what you’re trying to do, the task or integration can get somewhat complex.


Once you sign-up for a PayPal account, you’ll simply login to your dashboard online. From there you can manage all your business account features. Typically, you’ll need to copy and paste some code onto your web pages or integrate with another tool for a more seamless payment experience.

Special Features:

If you want to take payments online then PayPal is a great first step. It’s much easier and much less expensive than getting a merchant account which often has a set-up fee in addition to transaction fees. For sales within the U.S., PayPal typically takes 2.9% of the charge plus $0.30. Most merchant accounts take a percentage closer to 2% so PayPal is not the cheapest way to take payments online, but again, there are no set-up fees with a basic business account


PayPal offers more than basic business accounts. Some of the other options are very confusing to understand and set-up. In addition, if you just add a button to a page on your site, you may lose some sales as the sales process will not appear as professional. With a basic button, once your customers click on it, they’ll be redirected to the PayPal site and must either login to their PayPal account or enter their credit card information. Once paid, they will be redirected back to your site. It works, but it isn’t as seamless as it could be.

Detailed Features

✔ PayPal Checkout✔ PayPal Online Invoicing✔ PayPal Here
✔ PayPal Payments Standard✔ PayPal Business App✔ Point of Sale Solutions
✔ PayPal Payments Pro✔ Invoice Template Generator✔ Virtual Terminal
✔ Easy Set-Up
✔ Integrations

Pricing Model

Starting Price: % of sales. For U.S. transactions, the fee is typically 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction.

Advanced Plans: PayPal offers a service called PayPal Payments Pro that is more like a typical merchant account (customers will enter their credit card number on your business site instead of the PayPal site). The cost is $30/month plus 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction.

Annual Savings: PayPal bills based on a percentage of your sales so there’s no annual savings option.

Trial Option: There’s not really a way to try PayPal out, but it is free to sign-up for a PayPal account and start taking payments on your website.

Free Version: It’s free to sign-up for PayPal. You pay nothing for most of their plans other than the transaction fees.

Guarantee: There’s no guarantee to use PayPal, but it is free to sign-up and start taking payments.

Customer Support

Training: Knowledge base and online articles.
Support: Email support, phone support, and online community.

Company Details

Founded in: 1998 by Max Levchin, Peter Thiel, Luke Nosek, and Ken Howery.
Headquarters: California, USA

Competing Tools

PayPal is a great way to start accepting payments online. In addition, you’ll want to continue enabling this option on your checkout forms as many people like having PayPal as an option for paying online. Stripe is a payment system that’s a good alternative. Alternately, you can open your own merchant account with a company like PowerPay (now called Evo Payments International). You might even want to have several options to accept payments as getting those payments is crucial to your business.

Lisa Parmley
Lisa Parmley

Lisa Parmley is the founder of After gaining a Master's degree, she worked in research for about seven years. She started a training company in 2001, offering a course helping people pass a professional exam. That course has earned multiple 7 figures. She created SEO and authority site building training around 2007 which went on to earn well into the 6-figure mark.

She has 22+ years of experience in the trenches creating and selling online courses. Get help starting and growing your online course business here.

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