The PayPal Express Checkout Account Optional feature allows merchants to control whether or not PayPal presents your buyers with the ability to checkout at PayPal without a PayPal account (using a credit card--see figure 1). Merchants that are using PayPal as the sole payment method (no merchant account set up) can benefit for the Account Optional setting as this allows buyers the choice of using or signing up for PayPal or checking out without an account. Checking out without an account can save time for buyers without a PayPal account that may otherwise discontinue checkout if they were required to sign up for an account.
Note: Merchants selling downloadable goods should not enable the Account Optional feature. Buyers that purchase a downloadable good can return to the Order Status page for their order and download the item again and Yahoo! requires them to enter either the credit card number associated with the order, or the PayPal login name associated with the order to verify their ability to download. With Account Optional enabled (do not require PayPal account), a buyer will use a credit card to pay, but PayPal is unable to pass this data to Yahoo! in order to authenticate the buyer. If Account Optional is enabled and a buyer does use a credit card through PayPal to pay, the buyer will have no way to download the item if they do not download the item immediately after ordering.
The Account Optional feature is not recommended for merchants with a merchant account already set up for online payment processing.
The Account Optional feature setting can be manually set by merchants but also automatically changes under certain conditions:
Merchants that wish to override the default settings for requiring a PayPal account can do so by going to the Advanced Settings page.
To manually set the Require PayPal account setting: