We're ending support for event payments via PayPal

Tuesday, October 02, 2018

Doorkeeper has offered two ways of processing payments online: PayPal and credit cards via Stripe. Unfortunately, we've been experiencing ongoing quality issues with PayPal, and have no evidence the situation is going to improve. As we are no longer confident that PayPal can provide a good experience to event organizers and participants, we're ending support for it in favor of processing credit cards exclusively via Stripe.

We anticipate this switch to benefit everyone, as our data shows that events that use Stripe but not PayPal have the highest rate of payment completion. Furthermore, as we've recently introduced the ability to pay for events without entering your credit card details each time, we anticipate the completion rate with Stripe to improve even more.

Effective immediately, we're no longer allowing communities to connect a new PayPal account. For communities that have already connected a PayPal account, any event published before November 7th, 2018 will continue to supporting payment via PayPal. Events published after this will no longer be able to collect payments via PayPal, and to collect payments going forward communities will need to connect a Stripe account.

Enabling Stripe as an organizer

Creating a Stripe account takes about five minutes, and you'll immediately be able to accept payments via Visa, MasterCard, and American Express. To accept payments via JCB, you'll need to go through an additional application process, which on average takes three weeks to be processed. Details about setting up Stripe and applying for JCB can be found in this article.

Quality issues we've had with PayPal

One of the challenges with handling payments for events is the timeliness of it: participants purchase tickets hours if not minutes before an event starts. Because of this, should an issue with payment processing occur, there isn't necessarily going to be time to resolve it before the event begins. This makes guarding against payment issues particularly important.

At Doorkeeper, we take payment processing extremely seriously. While we can't guarantee that there will never be problems, we extensively test our payment integrations, and are transparent about any issues that do occur.

However, we can only be as good as our payment processor, and unfortunately, PayPal's product is not up to our standard of quality.

For example, we recently experienced an issue that seemed to be an obvious bug in their product. Despite this, it took them a week to escalate it to a developer capable of investigating it, and then ultimately gave up on the investigation because they had deleted their logs, telling us to wait for it to occur again.

Other incidents include having their API returning a status field with a value that changed capitalization seemingly randomly (it was almost always "COMPLETED", but on very rare occasions was "Completed"), and having their API crash when a certain character was used within their "memo" field.

The nature of these incidents, and PayPal's handling of them lead us to believe they have a culture where quality is not held to the highest of standards. As we don't see this changing anytime soon, we want to gracefully retire our integration before a major incident occurs.

PayPal doesn't increase payment completion

If supporting PayPal significantly increased the rate at which participants completed payment for an event, continuing to support in spite of their quality issues might make sense.

However, we have no evidence that accepting payment via PayPal increases the prepayment completion rate of participants. In fact, we've found the opposite to be true: events that support PayPal payments have a lower completion rate. Here's our payment completion rates across all recent registrations to Doorkeeper events (including those with optional prepayment):

PayPal Stripe Completion rate
Enabled Enabled 90%
Enabled Disabled 89%
Disabled Enabled 93%

The highest completion rate (93%) is for events that only have Stripe enabled, with no option to pay via PayPal. Events that have both PayPal and Stripe enabled have a lower completion rate (90%), and those with only PayPal enabled have the lowest (89%).

While there could be some other factor unrelated to PayPal itself that accounts for this difference, we have no evidence that supporting PayPal will increase payment completion.