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7. IPN and PDT > What IPN and PDT Are

What IPN and PDT Are

Instant Payment Notification (IPN) is a means by which PayPal contacts your server directly every time a transaction completes; in other words, IPN is a call-back routine and part of an asynchronous process (in that the notification can happen any time after the transaction). This design has its benefits, such as accommodating eChecks that can take three to four days to process.

Payment Data Transfer (PDT), on the other hand, is fueled directly by your customer’s actions. First, you enable PayPal’s Auto Return feature, such that when a payment is completed, the customer is immediately returned to your site, along with some transaction information. Restricting the navigation options in this way drives the payment process in a linear (and thus synchronous) fashion, making the PayPal transaction virtually seamless to your customer. The site is notified of the payment immediately, and your more impatient customers might not head for the complaint box so quickly.


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