I'm working on a site that uses CartThrob as it's order handling system. We are using the PayPal Express payment gateway to collect the funds, but the problem is that the business model was really intended to use the PayPal Adaptive Payments API. Has anyone had any experience using the PayPal Adaptive Payments API with CartThrob? If so, I would love to have a conversation and determine how we can accomplish this.

Thank you, Lucas

  • 1
    Lucas, can you be more specific with your question? Are you wanting to know if using the PayPal Adaptive Payments API is possible with CartThrob or are you needing specific assistance building the gateway addon?
    – Anna_MediaGirl
    Commented Jan 12, 2013 at 1:00
  • I am really looking for assistance. Anything would be awesome. I haven't had much luck getting in touch with the developers of CartThrob, so... Commented Jan 14, 2013 at 2:58

3 Answers 3


Don't know if you would consider using Exp:resso Store instead or if you are already built out with CartThrob, but I needed to use PayPal Adaptive Payments and they were right on as far as offering to do custom work to build that out for me. The client decided to change the way their billing worked so we didn't need it, but I know Exp:resso could do it and would be willing. The Adaptive Payments is quite complex.

  • 1
    Concession though: Store isn't as good as CartThrob for creating multi-vendor marketplaces (a la Etsy, Devot:ee), mostly because our fieldtype, while being easy to use and configure, is difficult to re-style. Paypal Adaptive Payments is only part of the equation. It would certainly be possible to add support though. Commented Jan 15, 2013 at 18:26

Reading between the lines here, I'm assuming you have or are creating a multi-vendor marketplace (e.g. Etsy, Devot:ee).

Every site I've seen do this using ExpressionEngine takes the money first, and pays out its vendors at the end of the month (as Devot:ee) do. While PayPal Adaptive Payments sounds like a nice idea, it makes it much harder to effect refunds etc, especially when customers come to you with a complaint about the vendor which you must resolve.

Without more information it's difficult to make a recommendation. Any decent PHP developer should be able to add Adaptive Payments support for you (and you would probably hard code into the extension some logic for looking up the Paypal seller email address in your database, then calculating the correct payment split etc, so it's not really something that would ever come built in to an e-commerce plugin).

However, you may find it's easier to simply pay out your vendors monthly, at least until your site grows to a point where it warrants a completely custom build (in a PHP or other framework, rather than a CMS).

  • When you mention paying out to vendors monthly, how would this be handled? In the UK, EU, and most jurisdictions Paypal MassPay is no longer available so would this need to be manual along with manual calculations of split for each and every vendor or is there another way that you're suggesting?
    – Ian Young
    Commented Mar 21, 2013 at 13:18
  • That depends on your client's needs. If they are a startup and probably going to be processing small numbers of sales, I'd recommend doing it manually. If they are large, write a script which will print out all the correct amount to pay. If they are even bigger, write a script to automate sending the payments from their account as well (you don't need to use mass pay, but it's still going to be a lot of development work). Commented Mar 22, 2013 at 9:17
  • Interesting to know. In this case it's a new site so they'll be small but possibly dealing with a large number of transactions very soon so I'd say about medium for the time being. When you say script, do you mean something which will extract the required info from the shopping cart orders and export to CSV or something?
    – Ian Young
    Commented Mar 22, 2013 at 13:01
  • Yes, you could use the query module and some SQL to create a report of who should be paid what (or use PHP and write a plugin). I'm a big fan on YAGNI, so if they are small I suggest just starting manually and working on an automated solution if and when the need arises. Commented Mar 23, 2013 at 2:38
  • OK that sounds doable. And this would then just be a manual case of logging in to Paypal and then making the payments to the appropriate members' email address once you have all the exported payment information? How would you handle the 'Request for Payment' that the user can make when they reach the minimum payout level?
    – Ian Young
    Commented Mar 23, 2013 at 10:02

I finally got in touch with Chris Newton from CartThrob and they are going to be able to help us out with this. Thank you everyone who responded. I will let you all know how it goes.

  • How did it go Lucas? Did you require a custom extension built? I have a similar situation at present so any info could be useful at this point.
    – Ian Young
    Commented Mar 21, 2013 at 14:12

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