How to Get a PayPal Client ID and Secret Key

How to Get a PayPal Client ID and Secret Key

If you’re working with a developer to build a website for your business, you may have been asked to provide your PayPal Client ID and Secret Key. These two codes are used to process online payments.

You may also encounter a need for your PayPal Client ID and Secret Key when:

  • Accepting PayPal payments through an online storefront
  • Setting up your account on a business invoicing platform
  • Linking a payment gateway to your retail point of sale (POS) system

A PayPal Client ID and PayPal Secret Key are both connected to your company’s account. Your developer can’t generate the Client ID and Secret Key for you—as the merchant, you’ll have to pull this information from your PayPal account.

Luckily, it’s simple to do. All you need is a PayPal account and a web browser through which you can access the PayPal Developer dashboard. This guide will walk you through each step—with screenshots to help guide the way.

By the end, you’ll know how to create a new PayPal Client ID and Secret Key and how to find this data again in the future.

How to create a new PayPal Client ID and Secret Key

PayPal uses REST APIs, or application programming interfaces, to facilitate online payments. In order to make this process work, you may need to generate unique codes that allow the payment gateway to open—this is the Client ID and Secret Key.

While the process detailed in this guide does involve logging into the PayPal Developer dashboard, you don’t need to know how to write any code.

Step 1: Make a PayPal business account

First things first: Make sure that you have an active PayPal business account. If you don’t, you can create a new PayPal account in minutes.

You’ll need to provide details about your business, which may include a legal business name and a taxpayer identification number. You’ll also be asked to connect your business bank account. PayPal needs this information so that they can send funds from sales to your bank.

PayPal Sign up

Step 2: Log into the PayPal Developer Dashboard

Once your PayPal business account is set up, it’s time to log into the PayPal Developer Dashboard. It’s best to do this on a desktop or laptop computer; you’ll use your existing PayPal Business account credentials for your PayPal Developer account.

Once you’re logged in, you’ll see lots of options on the developer homepage—but the first thing we want to look at is in the top right corner.

PayPal developer

Make sure that the toggle between “Sandbox” and “Live” is set so that Sandbox mode is on.


A sandbox account allows you to make changes without impacting your PayPal account and app connections. Sandbox accounts also make it possible to test payments on e-commerce checkout pages without processing any real funds.

Step 3: Create a new app

Next, look at the menu bar that runs along the top of the developer dashboard. Click on “Apps & Credentials.” (It may appear as “My Apps & Credentials” on a mobile device). You should see a “Default Application” listed under “REST API apps.” You can ignore this.

Apps and credentials

Click on the blue “Create App” button to proceed. A short form will appear.

Start by assigning a PayPal app name. You may want to reference your online store or the reason why you’re creating this app. This name will help you easily identify the right app if you need to retrieve your Client ID and Secret Key again in the future.

Next, indicate whether you’ll be generating a Client ID and Secret Key for processing payments as a merchant or a platform.

Merchant account

PayPal merchants

Merchants process payments for their own business, including products and services sold online and in person via PayPal’s mobile payment solution. Your customers will use PayPal to pay you, and the funds go right into your business accounts.

PayPal platforms

Platforms process payments for multiple sellers. This applies to situations where you’re building an online marketplace for other sellers (like Etsy) or a system through which others can crowdfund their projects (like Kickstarter). It works like this:

  1. Customers pay for goods and services on your platform using PayPal
  2. The funds pass through your business
  3. You pay your platform’s users after taking any allocated cut of the revenue

If you choose the Platform option, PayPal will generate a default title for your app.

Once you’ve selected either merchant or platform, click the “Create App” button again to finalize this step.

Step 4: Copy the Client ID and Secret Key

Congratulations! You’ve just finished generating your PayPal Client ID and Secret Key.

Look under “Sandbox API Credentials” and locate the field titled “Client ID.” You’ll see a long string of numbers and letters—this is what you’ll need to share with your developer or enter into a website that you’re setting up.

Secret key

Directly beneath the “Client ID” field is another field titled “Secret.” In order to see the Secret Key, you’ll need to click “Show.” Copy this data to share it with your developer or enter it into the website you’re configuring.

If you’d like, you can further customize the way your PayPal account processes payments by checking and unchecking boxes under “Sandbox App Settings.”

API configuration

How to find an existing PayPal Client ID and Secret Key

If you ever need to access your PayPal Client ID and Secret Key again, it’s simple to do so.

Step 1: Log in to the PayPal Developer website

You’ll need to log back into the developer dashboard to retrieve the Client ID and Secret Key that you previously created. This information isn’t accessible through your normal PayPal account.

Step 2: Click on “Apps & Credentials”

From the Apps & Credentials menu, you can access all of your REST API apps. Select the name of the app for which you need to retrieve a PayPal Client ID and Secret Key.

Rest API apps

Step 3: Copy the PayPal Client ID and Secret Key

Once again, you can copy the PayPal Client ID and click “show” to reveal and then copy the Secret Key.

Making PayPal payment processing easier

If you run into any difficulty integrating the PayPal Client ID and Secret Key with your e-commerce website, you can get help from a skilled PayPal Integration Specialist who is experienced in using the PayPal platform.

However, if you’re trying to process payments for services you provide, there’s an easier way to do it. What if you could take the time you’ve spent trying to configure PayPal credentials and instead get right to work? And have confidence you’ll be paid in the manner you and your clients prefer (including through PayPal)? With Upwork, you can do just that.

With Upwork Direct Contracts, you can bypass configuring complicated PayPal APIs and create payments and invoices all in one place.

You don’t need to find your clients on Upwork, either—Direct Contracts lets you collect payment from any client while benefiting from Upwork Payment Protection. We’ll hold clients’ payments safe in escrow while you work, and send the funds to your accounts when done. Give it a try and see how easy it is—all it takes is an Upwork account.


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Author Spotlight

How to Get a PayPal Client ID and Secret Key
Emily Gertenbach
B2B SEO Content Writer & Consultant

Emily Gertenbach is a B2B writer who creates SEO content for humans, not just algorithms. As a former news correspondent, she loves digging into research and breaking down technical topics. She specializes in helping independent marketing professionals and martech SaaS companies connect with their ideal business clients through organic search.

How to Get a PayPal Client ID and Secret Key
B2B SEO Content Writer & Consultant

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