Subscription Plans & Payments


We have a webapp that is for tipping and our developers(great) integrated paypal one time and recurring but the problem is recurring payment is rejected by paypal.  Here's the error we are seeing "we weren't able to setup pre-approved payments at this time." Also, when we tested the recurring automatic payments(subscription-based), it was working perfectly sandbox. It is also not on the error log, nor API call, but it shows an okay status. Can you help or guide me on what the issue is? There's nothing wrong in our code base

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Hi @Temp20240613


Thank you for posting to the PayPal Merchant Community.


The error you are describing is related to an account feature that requires pre-approval for live transactions called reference transactions. These reference transactions are a setting that can be enabled by contacting our customer service team. Please reach out to PayPal customer service to enable this feature and resolve the error you are experiencing with your webapp. Here's how to contact our customer service team:

  1. Log in to your account at
  2. Click Help at the top of the page.
  3. Click Help Center at the bottom of the page.
  4. Scroll to the bottom and click "Contact Us"
  5. Choose "Message Us" at the bottom.








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