Although PayPal may be considered by the “upper crest’ of technology society to be a ‘poor mans’ e-commerce solution – and indeed it may be. It does not offer all the bells and whistles of a more robust ecommerce solution like Yahoo, Kurant or dozens of others. However, it does do a few things very good a) low cost transactions b) no monthly fees c) fast payment transfers d) easy set up. In a nut shell – you can sell something and get paid easily. Of course the issue of fraud will always be a problem regardless of what ecommerce solution you use.
Yesterday PayPal introduced PayPal Web Services, a set of application programming interfaces (APIs) to the PayPal platform based on open standards. API’s enable software developers to embed hooks from their programs into another program or service – like PayPal.
PayPal Web Services, currently in beta release, is comprised of four new informational and transactional APIs enabling developers and merchants of all sizes to create ecommerce solutions and applications that integrate with the PayPal platform. This new offering expands PayPal’s existing family of Website Payments functionality and reporting features, and includes PayPal’s popular Instant Payment Notification (IPN) service.
In its initial release, the PayPal Web Services beta provides access to the following four API calls:
TransactionSearch: Based on specified search criteria such as payment date or customer name, returns a set of matching transaction IDs and basic transaction details.
GetTransactionDetails: For a given transaction, returns all details associated with the transaction, such as customer email address, time of payment, and purchase details.
RefundTransaction: For a given transaction, reverses the transaction and issues a refund or partial refund to the purchaser.
MassPay: Transfers funds to one or many recipients by providing an automated alternative to cutting paper checks or manually initiating individual payments (available end of second quarter, 2004).
PayPal’s move is just one step, of many, in making it easy for programmers to integrate PayPal’s ecommerce offerings into third party products.
Like Intuit’s Developer Network, The PayPal Developer Network (PDN) enables merchants and developers to quickly and easily add eCommerce capabilities to their Websites and applications. PDN provides members with a wide range of standards-based technical tools, resources and solutions for developing solutions that incorporate PaYPal’s secure and cost-effective payment service used by more than 45 million member accounts around the world. For more information and to join PDN, please visit http://www.paypal.com/pdn.
PayPal developers and merchants can setup and access the PayPal Web Services at the newly launched PayPal Developer Central (https://developer.paypal.com). Designed as an information hub to educate eCommerce developers, Developer Central offers information on how to set up developer certificates, get started with PayPal APIs, and access developer forums for discussion and questions. Developers can also use the new PayPal Sandbox, a testing environment for PayPal Web Services.