Welcome to PayWhirl, this quick start guide is intended to take you through the basics of getting setup to process recurring payments online. 

The general steps are outlined below:

  1. Create an account.
  2. Create payment plans.
  3. Create payment widgets.
  4. Embed widgets in your website.
  5. Test with the PayWhirl Test Gateway.
  6. Connect your live payment gateway, launch!

Get started, create your PayWhirl account for free at Paywhirl.com 

Next, fill out your address and phone number...

Once you have your basic info in the system you are ready for a tour...

After completing the tour, you will see the basic setup checklist in the top left corner. It will show you the  setup progress. 

By default there are some demo plans and a widget already configured in your account. 

Now you're ready to create your first payment plan. 

Plans can be setup to bill your customers for a variety of use cases. Here are just a few examples:

  •  Once - A plan with a single installment works as a one time payment.
  •  On a recurring schedule - Customize the frequency of billing (daily, weekly, monthly, etc).
  •  Bill on specific days of the year - Specify the billing dates for the plan (ideal for courses or events that happen at a set time).
  • Installment billing -  Configured to bill for a specific number of installment payments and then end (layaway). 
  • Custom billing - Depending on your needs, you might also need to have multiple plans "chained" together to create a custom billing cycle. 
  • Pre-paid subscriptions - Where the customer pays upfront for a specific number of installments, however orders are generated on a different schedule. For example, a 3 month prepaid plan that generates orders monthly.

Payment Plan Example:

In this example, the plan is setup to charge customers $15 for a pound of coffee, every two weeks. Most of the other settings were left on their default settings, however you can customize them as needed. 

A common change is to set a specific "billing cycle start date" for the month, so customers who subscribe to the plan will START their subscriptions on the same day of the month, and therefore re-bill relative to that start date.

Another common need is to add an additional "setup fee" to the first purchase and/or setting a specific number of installments so the subscription to the plan ends automatically.

When your finished configuring your plan settings click the green "Save Plan" button in the bottom right corner of the page. Then click "All Plans" in the top right corner to go back to the manage plans page.

Next, repeat the process and create as many payment plans as needed to cover all your different billing scenarios. In this example, we added a second plan so we can provide a monthly coffee option for customers as well.

Next, we will create a payment widget that will eventually be embedded into our website and will display our plans to customers. 

Widgets contain everything customers need to select their plan(s), create an account, answer profile questions you have setup, add payment methods and checkout securely on your website.

You will notice the "tutorial widget" has been pre-loaded in the account. You can view or edit the tutorial widget to see an example of a pricing table widget type. It displays the 4 pre-loaded demo plans and allows the customer to select between the different plans. Think of a coffee subscription where the customer is selecting how often they want the coffee delivered.

To create a payment widget, click on Widgets & Forms in the main menu and select "New Widget" button in the top right corner of the page. 

This example uses a Pricing Table widget but there are several different types of widgets to choose from depending on your needs.

In addition to payment widgets, PayWhirl offers a customer portal widget that allows you to embed a customer portal into your website seamlessly. 

Many businesses embed their customer portal on a separate login page so their customers can access the portal and make changes, as needed, to their own account information. 

Within the portal, your customers can manage their account information, add additional subscriptions, change their shipping address, add or remove payment methods, see when their upcoming charges are, buy gifts for others, and more. 

You can disable your customers ability to cancel subscriptions and/or remove their payment methods, if needed under your advanced account settings.

Continuing with our example, we will configure our pricing table widget. We have two coffee plans to display to customers so the number of columns in our widget should be set to 2 for the best results. This will make each of our two plans take up 50% of the widget's total width.

You can toggle between widget sections using the "Select a Section" setting and also choose the which PLAN the section is associated with. 

NOTE: All "sections" in a widget are disabled by default to prevent unfinished edits from appearing live on already published widgets so you'll notice the preview starts off blank. 

In Section 1, we've selected our "1 Pound every other week" plan and in Section 2 we've selected our, "1 Pound Every Month" plan.

Under the Basic Settings panel for each section you can customize the way the plan's information is displayed to customers, add an image, define button colors, etc. You can also add optional "features" that will display to customers. 

In this example, a feature "Free Shipping!" was added and we've also edited the the button text to read "I Want Coffee" by default.

You might have noticed there is no save button anywhere? Changes now save automatically so there is no need to click save all the time! 

The second section of our widget was configured similarly to the first and we've used the same picture and features for both plans/sections. 

To add a section to a widget select "add a new section" in the "choose a plan to edit" dropdown setting.

Once your widget is customized it can be added to almost any page on your website. This is how customers will select and purchase a subscription through your site. 

Simply copy one of the embed codes from the bottom of your widget settings page and paste it into the HTML of any page (or product page) on your website. Please note, you can make changes in the widget editor later, and they will automatically reflect in your installed widget without the need to re-embed.

In our example, we've used the popular e-commerce platform Shopify to embed our widget, but most website builders or platforms will work similarly. You just need to enable the HTML or "code view" of your page editor before you paste in the PayWhirl embed code.


Ok, almost ready to start taking payments! Now its time to test and then connect a LIVE merchant processor / payment gateway. Stripe is available on all PayWhirl plans but there are other gateways available if you upgrade to a monthly paid PayWhirl plan. To connect a gateway to PayWhirl go back to the dashboard and click on Payment Gateways.

By default every widget is configured with the test gateway and must be switched to Stripe or another processor before processing live charge. You also need to connect a live payment gateway if you want to add more than 10 test customers to your account. 

WE HIGHLY RECOMMEND TESTING WITH THE PAYWHIRL TEST GATEWAY to make sure everything works as expected BEFORE connecting a live gateway!

On the gateways page you will notice the PayWhirl Test Gateway is connected to your account by default. The PayWhirl test gateway is for TESTING ONLY!  Payment methods will NOT be saved on the test gateway.

Once you are finished testing and have connected a LIVE gateway to your account you can select the live gateway in your WIDGET settings.

Navigate back to the "Widgets & Forms" main menu item and click edit on the widget you'd like to connect. At the very bottom of the edit widget page click on "advanced settings" to reveal the gateway list. In this example, we're using Stripe as our LIVE payment gateway. 

That's the basics, but please note this is just one example of a very basic setup! There are an almost infinite number of configuration options within PayWhirl so please let us know if you need any guidance figuring out the best structure for your business.

What's next?

You might want to customize your email settings and templates or connect with an existing integration. One of the most useful features of PayWhirl is our ability to create orders in connected systems like Shopify, BigCommerce or ShipStation.

Related Articles:

How does pricing work on PayWhirl?

What payment processing gateways can I use with PayWhirl?

Can I continue using the one time checkout cart already in my existing platform?

Please let us know if you have any questions.

Team PayWhirl

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