How to create a PayPal Payments Pro developer account

First published on September 7, 2015

It’s been a while since I used a PayPal sandbox account. Years ago, the developer / sandbox account was completely separate from a live PayPal account. Now, the PayPal Developer website links directly to the normal PayPal account creation page.

PayPal developer signup link

If you are looking to get a PayPal developer account, you are likely doing so to test out a merchant account to receive money. The regular signup process lays out the 2 main options of PayPal Payments Standard and PayPal Payments Pro:

Payment Payments Pro account option

This is misleading for a developer account, because in order to test PayPal Payments Standard or PayPal Payments Pro, you technically only need a normal personal PayPal account. I don’t know why PayPal does not make this clearer, but then again they have a history of hiding other information such as their toll-free support number.

PayPal Payments Pro has a monthly fee and quite an involved application process, including a manual approval process where they call you. This is fine for when you and/or your clients are ready to start accepting real payments. However, there is a much faster way to get started in order to work in a sandbox environment!

Simply create a normal, personal PayPal account if you don’t already have one. Then, sign in to the PayPal Developer website. From there, visit the dashboard and then click on the “Sandbox > Accounts” link. There, you will see test buyer and seller accounts:

PayPal sandbox accounts

You can edit the seller account and click the “Upgrade to Pro” button:

PayPal sandbox account update to Pro

This is apparently a permanent step, but you can easily create additional accounts. The important part is that you don’t have to create a full, paid PayPal Payments Pro account in order to have a PayPal Payments Pro developer account!


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