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PayPal Card Expiry – Default Behaviour

Home Forums Community Forum PayPal Card Expiry – Default Behaviour

This topic contains 5 replies, has 2 voices. Last updated by  Rob Reid 3 years, 10 months ago.

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Posted: Tuesday Jan 29th, 2013 at 5:11 am #39874
Rob Reid
Username: RobReid

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Posted: Thursday Feb 7th, 2013 at 8:18 am #41025
Rob Reid
Username: RobReid

Does anybody have any advice on this?

it would be really helpful if you do.

Posted: Friday Feb 8th, 2013 at 9:50 pm #41237
Username: Eduan

Hello Rob,

Basically your question is what happens if for whatever reason the user can no longer pay with that card?

– Eduan

Posted: Monday Feb 11th, 2013 at 3:37 am #41395
Rob Reid
Username: RobReid


Yes what happens if the card that the member had attached to their PayPal account when they joined as a member (say for a year) expires on PayPal after 6 months.

Their profile and any attached subscriptions on PayPal would be linked to that funding source.

If that funding source suddenly disappears OR is replaced with a new funding source because their card has expired during the length of any subscription and they managed to put a new card onto PayPal before the expiry date (or next scheduled payment) then would everything carry on as normal or would it cause problems?

I know that when a card expires on PayPal you have to add a new card, wait for PayPal to take small amounts of money out of your account and then verify them before you can use any new card. Therefore what would happen to that members subscription on my website if they do that. Is the subscription tied to the card OR their PayPal account and would they have do anything to ensure payments carry on as normal during any transition from an old card to a new card.

Would the subscription to my website automatically be swapped over onto their new card and carry on as normal OR would there just be a failed payment and the member would have to re-subscribe (losing 6 months of their subscription – if they had subscribed for a year) ?

I know from another site we have had problems where people have let their cards expire and then complain when they are taken off OR are asked to re-subscribe.

It makes it very difficult if they have paid for a year and then their card expires after 9 months and 4 days as you would have to handle the fact that you wouldn’t have a 2 month 28 day subscription they could be downgraded to.

What do other people do in these cases?

What is the behaviour of the plugin?

And how should I handle it if the plugin doesn’t?

Thanks for your help.

Posted: Tuesday Feb 12th, 2013 at 9:59 am #41563
Username: Eduan

Well, if the card can no longer continue paying for the costs I’m pretty sure PayPal tells s2Member and s2Member updates his account accordingly. All according to the settings under Dashboard -› s2Member® -› PayPal® Options -› Automatic EOT Behavior.

However, I’m not sure what would happen if the user switches the card he’s using. :/

Posted: Wednesday Feb 13th, 2013 at 1:47 am #41596
Rob Reid
Username: RobReid


I asked Paypal this question and it seems that it is up to the member to add a new card, validate it (with the payments into the bank account) and then edit their profile and then any existing subscriptions they may have (e.g the one to my site using s2 member) and update their subscription to use the new funding source.

It seems they cannot update subscriptions automatically to use a new funding source. Therefore I am guessing s2 member will just send a “failed payment” IPN message and they will be demoted on the site. I did ask about offering a parameter that could be set at registration time that would allow subscriptions to automatically follow onto new funding sources when cards expire but it seems they cannot do it.

Also I asked for an FAQ answer, video or “how to guide” on doing this so I can show it to my site users but it seems they don’t have one. I will post the full answer from their support team below as apparently it is a “good question” LOL

The whole thread (back to front obviously!) is below

Discussion Thread
Response Via Email(Graham) – 02/11/2013 06:30 AM
Hi Rob,

Those are good questions and suggestions. I am not sure if there is a document or video out there concerning how to go in an update the funding source for a subscription. I mainly deal with integrations related issues, not the buyer facing side.

The best way to resolve the issue would be to wait for the failed payment notices from PayPal (IPNs). At that point you can send a message to the customer to have them contact PayPal, or at least look at their PayPal account. We can’t tell you why it failed because that has to do with privacy regulations regarding their accounts.

When the cards are expiring we do send them notifications about 45 days before they expire and they are prompted when they log in. When adding a new card there is no delay except if the card was used on another account previously. That would be the only time it needs to be validated, banks will take 3-5 business days to validate if we are not able to validate immediately. But all of these time frames will fall in the 5 days we wait to retry and then a second 5 days if the second attempt fails.

Also we can’t assume that when a new card is added that they want to have the subscriptions use that card. Many times people have multiple sources on their account. We will not know which one they want to use for that subscription, especially since we don’t have to have the primary funding source the primary for the subscriptions.

So I understand the frustration involved with the subscriptions not completing due to an invalid funding source, but there is only so much we can do to help the customer and that is already being done.


Customer By Email (Rob Reid) – 02/10/2013 11:25 AM

Thanks for your reply.

Obviously this behaviour can cause sites that run on membership payments a lot of issues.

Therefore I am wondering what the best way around it is for both the customer and the business/web site?

Is the only option to ensure customers know that it’s “their responsibility” to read warning emails from you that their card is about to expire and then:
-Add a new card
-Verify it (which can take time due to the payments to the account which need verification)
-Edit their current subscription profile and change the funding source to use this new card.

Is that right?

Or is there another way?

If not are my steps correct and is there an FAQ document or video on PayPal which my sites could point to that would help my members through this process?

Many of my site members are not very technologically literate and usually believe they have been “stitched up” or “scammed” when their access stops due to failed payments because of expired or changed cards.

Maybe you should consider a subscription button parameter that when set would allow members signing up to have uninterrupted payments so that when a card is replaced due to expiring all the members existing subscriptions are passed on to the new card.

Or you could send an IPN message to the site telling us that the members card will expire in 30/60 days and then we could inform the member ourselves that they need to add a new funding source and move subscriptions over.

Anymore advice on the best way to help members handle the process of changing cards and not losing existing subscriptions would be much appreciated.



Sent from my iPhone

On 8 Feb 2013, at 22:49, “PayPal Merchant Technical Support” wrote:


Response Via Email(Graham) – 02/08/2013 02:49 PM
Hello Rob Reid,

I can appreciate the concern with the profiles canceling due to a card expiring.

That is a good question, by the way. When the funding sources on an account expire we can’t switch to another funding source, we can’t assume that they want the transactions to come of of another card or bank account. Because of this customers have to go into their individual profiles that have been created through their account and update the funding sources for that profile.

You would only get an IPN when transactions are not processing due to an issue with an account for example, when a payment has failed.

Thank you for contacting PayPal Merchant Technical Support. This ticket will remain pending for the next 7 days, if you have no further questions please reply and we will close this ticket.

Merchant Technical Support
PayPal an eBay Company

Auto-Response – 01/29/2013 02:25 AM
Incident has been successfully submitted to PayPal MTS.

Customer By Web Form (Rob Reid) – 01/29/2013 02:25 AM
I have written a custom API integration with PayPal using subscriptions however we constantly run in to issues where a members card expires and then their subscription is cancelled and the only way to get them back on the site is to remove them from our site and ask them to re-subscribe.

Can I ask what the default behaviour is when a PayPal subscriber with recurring payments allows their card to expire.

If they manage to change the card on their account before it expires will all subscriptions carry on as normal – without interruption?

Should I tell members to do something to ensure they are not taken off the site if they allow their card to expire?

Do you send a specific IPN notification message when a card is about to expire?

I just want to strengthen my system so that members subscriptions are not interrupted if their card expires at any point.

Any links or help would be much appreciated.

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