PayPal IPN vs PDT: Difference and Comparison

PayPal is an American company of multinational financial technology. It operates an online payment system in several countries that support online money transfers. With the help of email notifications, PayPal merchants get information related to placed orders. Other notification methods give accurate and real-time information about customers and orders.  

PayPal IPN and PDT are two of the methods of notification. They both help to get proper information related to orders. There are several differences between PayPal IPN and PDT, which are highlighted in this article. 

Key Takeaways

  1. Instant Payment Notification (IPN) is a PayPal service that sends real-time notifications about transaction events to the merchant’s server, enabling automatic order processing.
  2. Payment Data Transfer (PDT) is another payment service that returns transaction details to the merchant’s website immediately after a customer completes a payment, allowing immediate order confirmation.
  3. While IPN is more reliable for order processing and handling various transaction scenarios, PDT provides a faster response and is better suited for simple purchase confirmation.

PayPal IPN vs PDT 

Paypal IPN (Instant Payment Notification) is a backend service that allows PayPal to communicate with a merchant’s website or application. Paypal PDT (Payment Data Transfer) is a front-end service that allows PayPal to return payment information to the buyer after payment is made.

PayPal IPN vs PDT

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In PayPal IPN, the abbreviation for Instant Payment Notification is IPN. It is a message service that helps merchants to notify about events related to the transaction of PayPal. Merchants use it to automate back office as well as administrative functions such as providing order status to customers.  

In PayPal PDT, the abbreviation for Payment Data Transfer is PDT. It is a notification service that sends information-related transactions instantly to the merchants with payment button usage. These transaction details can be displayed on the merchant’s website to confirm the successful payment of the buyer. 

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonPayPal IPN PayPal PDT
InterpretationIt is a message service that notifies events related to PayPal transactions to merchants.It is a notification service that allows admin on their website to show additional transactions details.  
Initiated by PayPalInitiated by merchants actions
Speed of notificationTends to lagAlmost instant
Notifications sentOrder confirmations and chargeback notificationsOrder confirmations
Number of notification attemptsNotification is sent till the site acknowledges it has been receivedNotification is sent once

What is PayPal IPN? 

With the help of Instant Payment Notification, PayPal Sends a GET request directly to a notification URL. The buyers are oblivious to it because the whole procedure takes place in the background. It is easy to configure and set up. It takes less than 15 minutes to set things up.  

When payments are stalled or approved, canceled, or chargebacks payments, then merchants can automate order deliveries. The notification was received for each one of them. eCheque payments updates are also posted as notifications. Background access to URL notifications is instant after being updated on new transactions.  

It is necessary to be sure about not processing orders in duplicate because duplicate notifications are failed to send. Notification URL is hidden from other users and customers, which helps keep things secure and in order. In the background, notifications can be processed, and updates or respective emails can be made.  

When IPN is used alone, with email, customers can only be notified because there is no way to show order information or download them on the web page. It requires more code for verification and checks to discard certain notifications and pay attention to important ones. 

What is PayPal PDT? 

With the help of Payment Data Transfer, the buyer is securely redirected back to the online store. Their values and a few variables are sent through a GET request, which is appended to the redirect URL. At the URL execution, it led the script to validate the request.  

Post validation, with message buyers, can be greeted, emailed an order status or summary, or allowed to download digital content. Merchants also update their databases relating to the order and, while processing, can keep track of the same.  

PayPal PDT allows you complete access to the transaction data when customers are redirected back to the website. With the help of a unique identity token, it is safe to access requested transaction-related data. Update databases and emails are sent to the customers related to orders.  

Customers are not automatically redirected then PDT fails to deliver. It can happen due to customer-front network failure, the browser window being closed by the buyer, etc. Clear payments can be acted upon instantly. 

Main Differences Between PayPal IPN and PDT 

  1. The primary function of PayPal IPN is the writing of data to the database because it lets you know when a payment occurs. But displaying payment transaction details to a buyer is a primary function of PayPal PDT.  
  2. When it comes to requirements, a special code is required to take advantage of data in PayPal IPN. On the other hand, auto returns must be enabled in the PayPal profile in PayPal PDT.  
  3. The possible problem with PayPal IPN is that its data can take hours to be returned under special circumstances, whereas in PayPal PDT, the data will not be sent if the browser window closes by the buyer before returning to your site.  
  4. The specified URL receives all payment data that is needed to authenticate the transaction data in PayPal IPN. But the URL of your return page receives a transaction token, and then you can request transaction details by using HTTP POST.  
  5. In PayPal IPN, payment notification is received whenever there is a change in payment status. On the flip side, in PayPal PDT, the customer is instantly returned to your site and receives a payment notification. 

Last Updated : 13 July, 2023

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