On January 31, 2023, PayPal is retiring a product called “Auto Billing” from their suite of recurring payment products. If you have received an email from PayPal or have seen a similar warning in your PayPal account dashboard, you may be wondering if this change will affect recurring subscriptions for your membership site.

In this post, we explain everything we know about the deprecated PayPal product. We want you to feel confident that this change will not affect subscriptions created through the Paid Memberships Pro membership checkout process.

PayPal Retires Auto Billing and the Affects it May Have on PMPro Users Banner Image

About the PayPal “Auto Billing” Product Retirement

You may notice a message like this on the page of your PayPal dashboard.

PayPal will be retiring Auto Billing from our suite of recurring payments products on  January 31st, 2023 . Merchants will not be able to use Auto Billing to receive payments after  January 31st, 2023 . If you use the Auto Billing product, please sign up for PayPal’s Subscription management product to continue receiving payments after 31st January 2023.

Please be aware any customers currently signed up for recurring payments using the Auto Billing product will need to create new Subscription billing plans to prevent disruption in service and that you may need to reach out to your customers to manage any outstanding payments that were enabled by Auto Billing.

—via PayPal.com

This message may appear within your PayPal account dashboard or you may have received a similar message via email.

Screenshot of the notice shown on PayPal auto billing screen regarding the retired auto billing feature that is not used by Paid Memberships Pro

The message is very alarming—especially for long standing membership sites that use PayPal as their payment gateway. What’s even more alarming is that the message shows up in your PayPal dashboard whether you are using this service or not.

PayPal Communications as a Longstanding, Global Company

Why is this so confusing? PayPal is a big company that’s been around for a while. They have always strived to maintain backwards compatibility as they continue to release new features. As a global payments processor, they must also service different countries and jurisdictions, all while continually pushing development to keep up with modern payment innovations.

PayPal has further confused their customers because they have a history of using and reusing similar sounding names for distinct products and services. Aside from “Auto Billing”, PayPal has other products like Automatic Billing, Automated Recurring Billing, DPRP,  the Recurring Payment Module, and a number of other similar sounding services.

The Bottom Line: PMPro Does Not Use The “Auto Billing” Service

The bottom line: PMPro does not use the “Auto Billing” service. Your existing subscriptions and new subscriptions will be fine. You can view all of your PayPal account’s recurring payment profiles from the “Subscriptions” page here.

You don’t need to click their link to “sign up for PayPal’s Subscription management product”.

PMPro integrates with PayPal’s subscriptions product for you.

Are we sure? Yes, pretty sure. The problem on our end is that getting a straight and consistent answer from PayPal has been tough.

  • Some customers who have reached out to PayPal have been told they won’t be affected.
  • Some have been told they will.

For the latter, I suspect it’s poor support on PayPal’s side. There is a small chance that PMPro users are also using Auto Billing with some other software. Or, they may have set up a manual PayPal buttons with Auto Billing subscriptions. Those customer agreements will be affected.

You can see what the Auto Billing setup would look like in this article from PayPal on Automatic Billing.

PayPal’s Sandbox Continues To Function Properly

The thing that gives me the most confidence is that PMPro has no issues in the PayPal Sandbox.

In the past, and also now for this feature, PayPal releases an update to their sandbox at least a few months before updating the live PayPal site. This process gives the PMPro developers a chance to see how our software works with the new changes.

  • We have seen no issues with PMPro managing existing or new subscriptions in the sandbox.
  • The sandbox does not include this warning (or even the page it is on anymore, as that GUI has been updated), and
  • The sandbox does not include any reference to Auto Billing.

This gives me confidence that after the live PayPal site is updated on January 31st, all PMPro-based sites will continue to function normally.

What If This Update Affects PMPro Sites That Use PayPal?

If we are incorrect and this change does affect PMPro users, we will be on call and do everything we can to help our customers.

This entire notification process has been needlessly confusing and alarming. I think PayPal could have done better here. But, I hope this article helps to set PMPro users at ease with regards to this upcoming update.