Use WooCommerce to Sell Memberships with Your Payment Gateway of Choice

One of the biggest requests we receive from our members and users alike is “I would like to use [insert payment gateway name]. Do you have an integration for it and if not can you develop it for me?”

Truth be told there are a myriad of payment gateways out there, and as much as we would like to have an integration for each and every gateway available, it is just not possible to do so (yet). So, now what? You desperately want to use Paid Memberships Pro but your payment gateway is not supported. You’re stuck.

Or are you?

The “Woo-karound”

If the payment gateway that you would like to use has a WooCommerce Integration developed for it, you’re in luck. One possible solution could be to use WooCommerce, our WooCommerce Integration and your payment gateway’s WooCommerce integration. This allows you to sell a PMPro Membership as a WooCommerce Product and let WooCommerce handle the checkout of your membership level using your payment gateway of choice.

Getting Setup

Below is a brief guide on how to set this up:

  1. Install and activate WooCommerce on your site. The primary WooCommerce plugin is free via the WordPress repository.
  2. Set up your chosen payment gateway in your WooCommerce Setup. You may need to purchase a premium gateway extension from WooCommerce.
  3. Install and activate our WooCommerce Integration on your site. This PMPro WooCommerce Add On is free via the WordPress repository.
  4. Set up your membership levels to be sold as Products. Have a look at the “Membership Products” section of the Add On page for more details.
  5. Let WooCommerce handle the checkout process instead of Paid Memberships Pro.

Note that using the WooCommerce Integration to sell memberships as products only requires adding Membership levels with their name and (if desired) category restrictions. None of the level pricing, page setup, or payment settings are needed. If you want to handle recurring payments using this method, you will need to use WooCommerce Subscriptions along with this integration.

This won’t work for me. Now what?

Perhaps, this workaround is not going to work for you. If that is the case maybe some of these alternatives might do the trick!

  1. Adding a New Gateway documentation (Warning: Not for the faint of heart!) – It is recommended that you are an experienced code wrangler if you decide to take this project on.
  2. Find a Developer to help. We have some experienced WordPress/Paid Memberships Pro Partner developers that you can get in touch with that will happily give you an estimate on integrating your Payment Gateway for you. Simply open up a developer request and one of our developer partners will get in touch with you.

Some reasons why a valid credit card is rejected at membership checkout or membership renewal

We occasionally hear that a customer cannot complete checkout on their site using a valid credit card. The card is declined at checkout, or the card is declined when a recurring payment is processed. In some cases, the site owner can process the card directly through the virtual terminal, so its clear the card is valid. So why is the payment gateway rejecting the card?

“Risk Models”, credit card companies and your payment processor.

Credit card companies have “risk models” that will reject payments for various reasons. One common one that comes up is when the initial payment is much lower than the renewal payments. So something like $5 now, then $100/year. Credit card companies and payment processors use complex algorithms that determine whether a payment should succeed or fail, even if the card is valid and all the “checks” are good (card number, CVV, name, billing address, etc.) There aren’t any hard fast rules, but one case we’ve seen is having a higher recurring amount, which makes it a bit more likely to be denied and could tip the scales.

So what can you do about it?

There are factors on the customer’s side that you don’t really have control over. Some of these include:

  • Has the account have been compromised (fraud alert) in the past?
  • What is their current credit score?
  • What are their average monthly purchases? What percentage of this is for online sales?

One uncontrollable factor on the merchant side (that’s you) is a kind of “business score” that the credit cards keep secret. This is a factor you don’t have that much control over either.  Keep this rating healthy by processing refunds and chargebacks quickly. As long as they are low (> 5%) there shouldn’t be problems.

So, what should you do when you are dealing with a customer that really wants to give you money, but for some reason their card is denied?

One thing that I’ve heard helps is to have the customer call their credit card company and say

“I’m trying to make a charge at and it’s coming back denied.”

The credit card company will sometimes be able to do something so that transaction can go through one time. This act can increase that hidden business score, hopefully reducing the possibility that a similar checkout situation is rejected in the future.

Sometimes, the payment gateway (we know for sure this is true of PayPal and Stripe) will have extra information in their logs about why something was denied. So try calling your gateway and ask for details on the failed transaction (it helps to have the last 4 digits of the customer’s card number if they are willing to share this with you). But usually there isn’t that much more information.

If you’ve mediated a similar situation on your own site and have any words of wisdom, please post in the comments below. I’m interested to hear about other cases where a valid card has failed – any what steps you took to resolve it.