PayPal Standard

If you’ve been with Big Cartel for a while, you likely got started using our old PayPal Standard checkout. This is a simple to setup option that lets your customers pay with a PayPal account or credit card off-site on PayPal’s website, but it also has some significant downsides in performance, reliability, branding, and user experience.

While we now offer new checkout features that are much better, we’ve kept this old checkout option around for those of you who still use it. However, unless your business relies on specific PayPal Standard features for things like shipping, tax, or phone number collection, we really recommend you switch.


  1. You’ll need a verified Premier or Business PayPal account.
  2. Be sure the email you have listed in your PayPal account is confirmed.
  3. Head to Settings > Checkout in your store admin, and enter your PayPal email address in the PayPal Standard section.

I don’t see PayPal Standard in my settings! We’ve begun phasing this option out, so if you don’t see a PayPal Standard option in your settings, you can contact us with the PayPal email you’d like to use and we’ll set it up for you. After that, you’ll be able to update it yourself if needed.

Inventory Reserve

If your shop uses our old PayPal Standard checkout, and also has inventory tracking enabled and overselling disabled, we activate our inventory reserve feature. This means when your customer adds an item to their cart, it’s removed from your inventory for 10 minutes.

screenshot of inventory reserve error message in cart

This should give folks ample time to finish checkout on PayPal’s end while preventing someone else from buying that same item, but can be affected by delays in PayPal’s system. If they don’t end up buying the item, it gets added back to your inventory after the 10 minutes are up and becomes available for purchase again.

Have high-demand products? If your store has a lot of rush sales, we strongly recommend switching to our new checkout features, which don’t need the inventory reserve feature, and stock levels are adjusted in real time as purchases are made.

New Checkout Features

After mountains of research and design iterations, we think we’ve built the best new checkout system around (we might be biased). Our new checkout offers a number of improvements over our old PayPal Standard checkout, here are just a few:

  • Truly seamless - based on your store’s theme, images, fonts, and colors, we’re able to adapt the payment and receipt pages to match exactly.
  • Direct payments – your customers can pay you directly with a credit card (through Stripe) or with their PayPal account (through PayPal Express).
  • Lightning fast – our elegant single-page design significantly cuts down on checkout times (note, PayPal payers still submit final payment on PayPal).
  • Beautiful receipt page – an order confirmation page that reviews what was purchased, that your customer can come back to at any time.
  • Fewer headaches, more awesome – no more pending e-Check payments, IPN delays, or attempts to spoof orders.
  • Better for high volume sales – no delays from PayPal Standard means inventory reserve and overselling are history.
  • Great on any device - no matter if your customers shop from a desktop, tablet, or mobile device, their checkout process will work (and look) perfectly.
  • Faster, more reliable storefront - everyone using our new checkout is also using our new storefront system, which is incredibly fast and stable.
  • Improved Google Analytics integration - everyone using our new checkout use Google’s improved Universal Analytics for better visitor and ecommerce stats.

Overall this should offer a quicker and more enjoyable buying experience for your customers, leading to higher conversion rates and less hassle for you.

What’s Changed?

In addition to the awesome perks we already mentioned, there are a few other changes you should keep in mind when switching over from PayPal Standard:

  • PayPal Express is not the same as the old PayPal Standard checkout - make sure you’ve enabled your PayPal Express option in Settings > Checkout page in your admin if you want to enable PayPal payments in your store’s checkout.
  • PayPal Standard features won’t work with PayPal Express - you won’t have access to some of the features you may be relying on from PayPal, such as their tax and shipping settings. To use those features, switch back to PayPal Standard, or use Big Cartel’s shipping and tax settings instead.
  • Inventory Reserve is gone - no back-and-forth with PayPal Standard means our 10-minute inventory reserve is history. Now the first customer to place their order wins. This should be a huge help for high-volume stores, and prevent product hoarding and accidental overselling.
  • Visitor stats may be lower - we’re now using Javascript to track stats in your store, so search engine spiders and crawlers aren’t tracked. This means visitor stats may appear lower than before, but they’re now actually more accurate and inline with services like Google Analytics.
  • Shipping and discounts are removed from Cart page - instead, the new checkout screen will handle the shipping and discounts you’ve set up in your admin. If you’ve coded your own custom theme, you may need to remove these yourself.
  • Checkout and Success pages are gone - these pages are completely handled by the new checkout. After an order is placed, instead of just a success message, your customer will now see a beautiful receipt of their order.

Making the Switch

Improved Checkout

Switching to our new checkout features is easy. Simply head to Settings > Checkout in your Big Cartel admin, and follow our instructions for setting up checkout »

Note: PayPal Standard can’t be combined with Stripe for accepting card payments. Also, if you use PayPal Standard’s shipping or tax settings, they won’t be compatible with PayPal Express. If you rely on those settings, you’ll either want to stick with PayPal Standard, or switch to Big Cartel’s shipping and tax settings instead.