How to process PayPal Express Checkout for third party merchants

May 18

This is a very simple one, but one that can take a lot of google-search-query-nuance tweaking to find.

It’s easy to find the documentation to do PayPal Express Checkout, but to find that one little field where you send an alternate user as the recipient of the payments, well that’s downright impossible.  It is not in the docs (at least not as of this writing 5-18-2011).

How simple is it? Very — the variable is “SUBJECT”

Yes, you specify an alternate “SUBJECT” of the transaction.

Normally your SetExpressCheckout request looks something like:


Now it will look like this:


Payee_PayPal_Account is the email address/username the user uses to log in.

Hope this helps!  Took us valuable time to find …


Posted by on May 18, 2011 in Computers, How-To, Programming


Tags: , , , ,

7 responses to “How to process PayPal Express Checkout for third party merchants

  1. Alex

    November 18, 2011 at 11:40 am

    Hi, thank you for this hint. It’s not well-documented in Paypal’s documentation and described poorly in Internet.

    I’m implementing the same functionality now and I’ve got a question. I created two seller accounts in my Paypal sandbox: one is typical seller account and another is Payments Pro account. I’ve tried to pass each of them to Paypal sandbox services but no luck.

    Passing any of these 2 accounts’ emails as a SUBJECT returns Paypal error 10423 “This transaction cannot be completed with PaymentAction of Authorization.” which is not documented at Paypal API Errors list.

    Do you happen to know what’s wrong there? Is it a sandbox issue or I’m doing something wrong.

    Thank you in advance.

    • Ryan

      November 30, 2011 at 9:43 pm

      You need to setup permissions between main and subject paypal account, I can’t recall the steps to do that, they don’t place the permission button on a noticeable place

  2. Joe

    September 2, 2012 at 4:53 am

    Thanks, very helpful. PayPal documentation still doesn’t seem to mention this.

  3. Leslie Jones

    March 31, 2013 at 7:56 pm

    YOU ARE MY HERO! 3 months I’ve looked for this!

  4. Ben

    June 25, 2013 at 8:36 pm

    I love you for this.

  5. Paul

    May 1, 2014 at 5:49 am

    Thanks for this – it saved me quite a bit of time!


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