Payments through PayPal – A Guide, and Solutions

Café Writer currently processes the payments for membership using PayPal.

Please READ THIS PAGE first, before contacting us for assistance, if you are having PayPal issues. That will be the first thing we ask you if you seek assistance with PayPal.

We regret that we can’t offer a high level of support for individual members’ PayPal payment issues. We don’t know what bank accounts or credit cards or other payment methods that you have set in your PayPal account, and we don’t even know if PayPal is allowing you to use your account to make payments.

Ultimately, you may have to contact PayPal customer support yourself and diagnose and solve your own payments problem.

However, we have gained some experience with PayPal payments through the initial batches of member subscription payments. Therefore, we can suggest some simple things to examine or to try that may solve your payment problem.

These PayPal Tips are Not Unique to Café Writer

Any website where you subscribe to a service with your PayPal account will have similar issues and will require the same due diligence on your part.

Compatibility with Your Computer, OS, Browser, Country … Does it WORK?

Our experience has been that everyone who has sought a membership on Café Writer and has been able to successfully log in with either a username and password or with their Facebook identity, has also been able to eventually proceed to paying for the subscription, using their PayPal account.

We currently know of absolutely no basic incompatibility between Cafe Writer’s website, and any individual user’s PayPal account.

Assuming that you are the owner of a legitimate PayPal account, that you have a funding source attached which can either be a bank account or a credit or debit card,  and that you are attempting to subscribe from one of the many countries that support PayPal, you will be able to do so.

We at Café Writer are not completely happy with PayPal’s usability. We are looking into an alternative payment processor that will allow you to use a credit card directly without registering a PayPal account.

Our issue with PayPal is that fundamental user issues keep popping up which remain nagging sore points with some new users.

Understanding PayPal “Payment Methods”

Most users of PayPal want and expect their credit card to be charged for PayPal purchases.

PayPal may decide differently, for you, unless you intervene.

You always need to go to PayPal’s site in order to change the way that PayPal deducts payments from your accounts. That level of control isn’t on the Café Writer site.

And most users of PayPal don’t want to use an attached bank account for PayPal subscription payments, because it’s easy to generate overdraft charges at the bank. But that is exactly what PayPal will do to you – use a bank account for payments, not your credit card – unless you follow these instructions.

PayPal Basics

First of all, you should understand PayPal’s notion of source of funding or payment method as PayPal calls it.

You can have multiple sources of money attached to one PayPal account. These can be any combination of bank accounts and credit and debit cards.

Also, PayPal always makes one particular payment method (out of several that you may have set up for your PayPal account) to be the default payment method. You can change this on a transaction by transaction basis (we will show you how below.)

Also, you may carry a balance in your PayPal account. A PayPal account can hold funds just like a bank account.

The way PayPal processes any transaction you make when you purchase something is as follows:

  1. PayPal first attempts to deduct the transaction amount from the PayPal balance.
  2. If that amount is insufficient or 0, PayPal then proceeds to use the payment method that is set for that transaction – a credit or debit card or bank account – for the remaining amount due.

A certain payment method may, under some conditions, not work with recurring payments like Cafe Writer subscriptions. We have an alternative payment method.

Understanding How PayPal Enforces a Certain Type of Payment Method

What follows is unstated PayPal behavior that willfully buries in a sea of technical literature.

Key point: If you have a bank account attached to your PayPal, PayPal always makes the default funding source that account.  You must intervene manually in each purchase in PayPal, if you want to use a credit card and not a preselected bank account for billing.

Important Point: We at Café Writer cannot change this. It’s your job. Sorry.

If you have even one bank account attached to your PayPal, PayPal will ALWAYS set the source of funding for any new purchase to one of your attached bank accounts.

Furthermore, there are two separate Payment Method settings. You must set each one yourself at the time that you subscribe to Cafe Writer. Otherwise a default-set bank account will be charged by PayPal for each month of Café Writer.

  1. One setting determines the source of payment that is made at the time of sale (the time you subscribe and the first month’s membership is charged.)
  2. The other setting determines the source of payment that is made every month when to pay for the next month’s service.

Time of Sale Payment Method Setting

Here is a portion of a screen from PayPal that you will see when you initially subscribe to Cafe Writer.


Notice the “Payment methods” area and the blue region under it showing a “Personal Savings” (which is a bank account.) Also notice the “Change” link to the immediate right of “Payment Methods.”

Click that “Change” link . Then PayPal will let you set a credit card or another bank account as the source of funding.


Changing the Ongoing Payment Method Setting

Once you have subscribed, you should immediately, before you forget, set the subscription payment method, unless you find the setting that PayPal forced for the initial month’s payment to be acceptable.

If you do not do this, payments for the second month on will come from the same payment source that PayPal wanted to force you into for the initial payment.

Please refer to the following PayPal page in order to find out how to do this. This page is titled: How do I change the way I pay for a recurring payment, subscription, automatic billing, or installment plan?

You Only Have to Set the Payment Methods Once Per Subscription

Once you set the payment method for your recurring payment, you will not have to touch it again. Payments should be charged against your credit card from that point on. That is based on our understanding of PayPal. This may change but that is what we understand to be the case.

“Your Automatic Payment Did Not Go Through”: Failure of PayPal to Process Subscription

You may encounter the following situation: PayPal appears to accept your subscription payment. Then, a few minutes later, you receive an email from PayPal that looks like this:

Paypal Payment Failure

When you receive this type of error, get in touch with us at and explain what happened.

When this happens, Café Writer generally creates your subscription as though the payment was successful. But you aren’t charged for it. We generally find these occurrences within a few hours. We will manually remove the unpaid subscription. (And we realize that it’s not your fault.)

One solution that you can attempt that may allow your payment to be processed may be to change the payment method.

Things to Investigate if Subscription Payment Fails

If your payment fails to be processed completely, these are the possible reasons:

  • A non zero PayPal balance will disable direct “payment method” setting. The “backup payment method” will be used if the PayPal balance goes zero. You must change the backup payment method if you have a non zero current PayPal balance.
  • Foreign currency denominated PayPal accounts held in countries other than the US seem to have unique issues that may prevent subscription. We have seen one member’s subscription payments declined by PayPal (immediately upon subscribing) even though she had a valid credit card attached to PayPal as the payment method. She also was unable to fund PayPal’s balance with her bank account because PayPal was saying that she needed a US based, dollar holding bank account. She was finally successful in sending us payment for months of subscription, using an alternative payment method that we offer.
  • The bank account or credit card number selected as the payment method is now invalid. An attempted charge to that PayPal account will simply fail. Please double check your payment methods for correctness. You may need to re-enter them or select a different payment method as described above.
  • A bank account or debit card which contains insufficient funds was set as the payment method. My own bank charged me a “bounced check” NSF charge once when PayPal attempted a debit of a bank account.
  • An attached credit card has a limited credit line or has expired or been revoked.

Again, review the information earlier on this page about changing the payment method, if you are experiencing failure by PayPal to even pay for membership.

Make a PayPal Payment Manually

If you know that you can buy other products with PayPal but you are having problems with the website payment system, you can try making a single payment for multiple months with PayPal. Press this button to get started.

Pay With PayPal Manually

Some PayPal Accounts May be Locked by PayPal or Under Review

Finally, the least common possibility for failure to process PayPal payment may be that your account has been locked by PayPal’s staff. This may be in response to some financial issue, or even some issue as logins from an unexpected and suspicious source.