What Are PayPal Skipped Payments?


I get a lot of “Payment skipped” emails, looking in Subscription Boss I see customers who have Notifications of Payment skipped, payment failed, payment skipped etc, can you tell me exactly what causes a payment to be SKIPPED and why?


Payment Failures

PayPal tries to take payment 3 times; the first time is says Payment Skipped; 5 days later it tries again and if it fails it is another Payment Skipped; then, after a further 5 days, it tries a third and final time, and if this fails then the message is Payment Failed. – for more see What happens on a PayPal payment failure?

Why Does Payment Fail?

PayPal does not indicate the reason for failure. It can be one of the following

  • there are insufficient funds in the PayPal account
  • there are insufficient funds in the bank account that backs the PayPal account
  • the credit card that funds the PayPal account has expired

In my experience it is typically the third scenario and after the member is alerted of the issue , they add a new card to their PayPal account the next payment attempt succeeds.

Setting Up Payment Failure Handling

The standard approach is to set up Infusionsoft action sets to send out emails after each failure – see screenshot and payment failure handling instructions here.

Typical Payment Handling Campaign

It is common practice to cancel their subscription if they do not resolve the payment issue after 3 emails. However, other clients using membership software may give limited or no access after the first or second failure – it really depends on how you want to set up the IS action sets to handle this.

What If You Want To Allow Them Longer Than A Month To Pay?

If you want to allow your member to go into more than 1 month in arrears then PayPal has an option to allow the debt to be carried through to the next month and then PayPal will try and collect 2 months money at the same time – for more on this see and the section called Automatically Bill Outstanding Amount

Paid Service Available

It you are proficient at IS it is pretty easy to set this up yourself. However, as a time saving measure, I often help people set up their PayPal payment handling by “doing the plumbing” of the creating the Action Sets, tags and campaign to handle the payment failure processing. This typically takes 30 to 60 minutes and is charged at $180 per hour. This leaves the client the job of tweaking the content of the emails to get the right tone of language for their user base.

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