If your ecommerce website is using Paypal to accept payments then in most cases the customer will be redirected to Paypal to make the payment and then back to your store once the payment has been completed. When the customer is returned to your store, all the website knows is that the payment has been completed; no other data is passed back by Paypal.
Adding a PDT token to your Paypal account allows your website to effectively become authorised with Paypal for a higher level of information disclosure after a transaction completes. PDT stands for Payment Data Transfer. Effectively, this means that when the customer returns you’ll not only be able to provide a thank you message, but also provide details of the transaction that took place on Paypal’s website.
Here is the flow of a PDT transaction, as shown on Paypal’s website:
What details can be sent back to the website from Paypal?
With a PDT token set up, the website can query the following information from Paypal following a successful return from a payment transaction: the first and last name of the customer, confirmation of the payment status, the payer’s email address, the currency they paid and the amount they paid.
If you are using a cart like oscommerce or zen cart, then a PDT token is essential to your cart’s successful use of Paypal. In other carts, it’s not essential but adds to the functionality.
How do you set up a PDT token?
- Go to Paypal and log in.
- From the main screen once you are logged in, click on the White link “Profile”. Make sure you click on the link and ignore the drop down menu that appears when you hover over the word Profile.
- A screen with a lot of link options appears, in the third column choose “Website Payment Preferences”.
- Turn on both Auto Return and Payment Data Transfer (PDT) token settings. See the screenshot below. Then click save and your PDT token is created.
- You’ll now be back on the home page for your Paypal account. Click Website Payment Preferences again and scroll down the screen to see your PDT token. Save this to Notepad as you’ll need to enter it in to your shopping cart application like Open Cart, Zen Cart or osCommerce in the appropriate place.
It’s not essential to use a PDT token but if your website does it can display more meaningful results. The issue comes when you have multiple websites requiring a PDT token on the same Paypal account – as there’s only space to enter one return URL on the above mentioned screen.