PayPal transaction process with screenshots

This is an illustrated, in-depth guide about the PayPal transaction process.

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Written by Sharetribe
Updated over a week ago

Introduction and contents

Welcome to the in-depth guide through the PayPal transaction process! This is a companion article to our article about Stripe's transaction process with screenshots.

If you're just looking for a brief introduction to the PayPal transaction process, you can check out our article with a simplified version of the PayPal transaction process.

In this article, we have an example where Alice (the seller) has created a listing for a rentable tent, and Bob (the buyer) is looking to rent it from Alice. We’ll follow the transaction process from start to finish, with screenshots as guidance. Each step of the process is visualized and explained, and we’ll see how the transaction process works, both from the buyer’s and seller’s side.

The contents of this article are as follows:

  1. Buyer's view - Listing screen

  2. Buyer's view - Filling in the purchase details

  3. Buyer's view - PayPal checkout

  4. Buyer's view - Purchase request done

  5. Seller's view - Notification about the purchase request

  6. Seller's view - Inbox

  7. Seller's view - Purchase request review

  8. Seller's view - Accepting the purchase request

  9. Seller's view - Payment successful

  10. Buyer's view - Payment successful, waiting for a transaction to complete

  11. Buyer's view - Marking the transaction as completed

  12. Buyer's view - Giving feedback

  13. Buyer's view - Transaction completed, feedback given

  14. Seller's view - Transaction complete

  15. Admin panel view - Viewing the transaction as admin

1. Buyer’s view - Listing screen

We start our journey at the listing page, viewing the listing as the buyer. Here, we can rent the listing (1). As the listing is rental and includes an availability calendar, we also need to choose the dates or start and end times for the purchase above the ‘Rent’ button. If the listing included pricing units, we could choose how many to purchase.

In addition to the regular listing details, the buyer can also see which payment gateway(s) can be used to purchase the listing (2). We can also see here who is selling the listing, and we can contact them before purchasing if we want and if the marketplace has not disabled the messaging functionality (3).

We choose the dates and click on “Rent” to move forward.

2. Buyer’s view - Purchase request being filled

We’re moving forward as the buyer - now, we’ve clicked on “Rent,” and we get to fill in the purchase details. We see the price breakdown (1), and we can fill in an optional message to the seller, such as information about how to exchange the item or other details (2).

Now, we can make our payment. Depending on the settings of the marketplace and the seller profile, the buyer may be able to choose between paying by credit or debit card (via Stripe) or through PayPal (3), unless only one of the gateways has been enabled by the marketplace or the seller. Now, we click on “Checkout with PayPal”.

3. Buyer’s view - PayPal checkout

The PayPal Express Checkout screen can look a bit different depending on some details, such as your country. That being said, the main options that should be visible for every buyer are the transaction sum and the option to pay with a PayPal account (1), and the option to pay with a debit or credit card (2). The PayPal flow is dependent on which payment method the buyer chooses, but the next steps of the transaction process are the same regardless of which payment method we use.

4. Buyer’s view - Purchase request done

We've made the payment, and the request is sent! The purchase request is now officially made, and the funds are reserved from the credit card or the PayPal account, and the seller has been notified. We are still viewing the transaction from the buyer’s side.

We now have confirmation that the funds were successfully reserved (1). We can write further messages to the seller (2), as well as see our initial message if we wrote one, and the payment authorization that started the transaction (3).

5. Seller’s view - notification about a purchase request

The seller received two notifications about the purchase request: one via email, and the other one in the marketplace interface, on the top bar. The inbox has a new message, which is about the buyer's purchase request we just created. We could also get to the purchase request via email notification, but since we’re already at the marketplace, let’s click on the inbox icon instead.

6. Seller’s view - Inbox

All the messages and transactions appear in the seller’s inbox. Here, we only have this one transaction that is waiting for us to accept it, so let’s open it by clicking on it.

7. Seller’s view - Purchase request review

We are now viewing the transaction from the seller’s point of view. Here, we can see the price breakdown –- how much the buyer has paid and how much we, as the seller, pay the marketplace owner as a commission (1). Additionally, we see confirmation that the payment has been authorized and the funds are reserved, and we get to choose to accept or reject the transaction (2). Finally, we get to write a reply to the buyer if we want to (3).

Note that the seller can write a reply even before accepting the purchase request. To confirm the acceptance or rejection of the purchase request, we as the seller can choose either “Accept request” or “Not this time”, depending on our situation. Let's accept the request.

8. Seller’s view - Accepting the purchase request

After clicking on one of the buttons to respond to the purchase request, the seller is taken to a new page. Here, we can choose to keep open or close the listing while accepting the transaction or to reject the transaction (1). We can also include an optional message to the buyer (2). To confirm our decision, we click on the button “Accept” at the bottom.

9. Seller’s view - Payment successful

The money has been sent! After having accepted the purchase request, we are taken back to the transaction conversation screen. Here, we see that the payment for the listing was successful (as opposed to only being “authorized”, which was the case before the acceptance) (1). We also get notified that we need to fulfill an order (2), and that the buyer has not yet marked the order as completed (3). However, since we are using PayPal, we see that the funds were already transferred to us (4).

10. Buyer’s view - Payment successful, waiting for the transaction to complete

As the buyer, we have a new view after the seller has accepted the purchase request. Here, we see confirmation that the payment has been successful, as well as the total amount of the payment (1). We do not see the seller’s transaction fee here, as it is not relevant to the buyer. If the buyer pays a transaction fee, it is visible here.

We also see a notification that the seller needs to fulfill the transaction. In this context, this means that Alice needs to provide the tent for Bob, and Bob sleeps the night in it, as planned.

When the service, rental, or product has been delivered, we have the choice to mark the transaction as completed (if the item/service was successfully received) or to dispute the transaction if something went wrong (2). We also see a confirmation about the payment (3). Let’s mark the transaction as completed.

11. Buyer’s view - Marking the transaction as completed

Now, we get a confirmation page. The buyer now needs to confirm whether we want to mark the transaction as completed or dispute it (1). Additionally, we can choose to give feedback to the seller or skip it (2). Since Bob was happy with the stay and wants to share his experience, he wants to give feedback, so let's do that.

If the buyer was not happy with the outcome, they could dispute the transaction. You can read more about that process from our article on disputes.

12. Buyer’s view - Giving feedback

How did the transaction go? Here, the buyer has chosen to give feedback to the seller. We can write in an optional message (1), and choose whether the general sentiment of the feedback is positive or negative (2), and send the feedback.

13. Buyer’s view - Transaction completed, feedback given

Success! The transaction is officially completed, and Alice and Bob are both happy with the outcome. The completion of the transaction can be seen now on the transaction thread page, with confirmation about the status of the transaction and the feedback in the middle (1). We also see all the other information that was previously visible, and messages can still be sent back and forth if needed.

14. Seller’s view - Transaction complete

Now that the buyer has marked the transaction as completed, the seller sees it in the transaction thread (1). We also have the opportunity to give feedback about the transaction or skip giving feedback (2). There is the confirmation about the transaction being marked as completed (3). However, since we are using PayPal instead of Stripe, the funds were already transferred to the seller earlier (4).

15. Admin panel view - Viewing the transaction as admin

This view is not accessible to either Alice or Bob unless they are admins. As the marketplace administrator, you can follow the details of the transaction process from your admin panel, from the section Listings -> Manage listings, as the transaction moves forward.

Final words

Congratulations! You have reached the end of the transaction flow guide. Note that this guide covered the purchase process when using PayPal - with Stripe, the process is a bit different, although most parts are identical. If you’re interested, please check out our article on how the Stripe transaction process works.

Hopefully, this gives you a good overview of how the transaction process works. If you have any questions, feel free to get in touch with us at, or with the chat widget in your marketplace Admin panel! Our team will be happy to help.

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