Enabling Payments on a Form

Set Up a Payment Gateway

The first step to enabling payments on a form is to set up a payment gateway on your site. If you have not already done so, please see our article on Setting Up a Payment Gateway for further instructions.

Enable the Form to Process Payments

Once you've got a gateway set up on your site, you can enable credit card payments on any form simply by checking the "Process payments with this form" box in the Payment tab, and selecting your gateway.

Add a Currency Field to the Form

In order to charge users, the form needs to know how much to charge. This is accomplished by designating fields at currency fields, which can either be text fields for manual input, or selection fields (radio buttons, checkboxes, or dropdowns).

Text Fields

If you'd like the user to manually input a currency value, you can use a Text Field. A primary application of a currency-enabled text field would be an online donation form, where the user inputs their intended donation amount.

To set this up, add a Text Field (under Standard Elements) to your form. Open the element options, and check off the "Use this field for currency" checkbox.

The field will default to "0.00". If you'd like to use a different amount, you can set the default in the element settings. Alternatively, there is a setting in the Payment tab to control the default text for empty text fields. The options are "Blank" and "0.00". If a currency text field is Blank and required, the user will be forced to input a value before they can move on.

Selection Fields

If you'd like the user to select from a list of options, you can create a radio button, checkbox, or select dropdown field. This allows you use the List Builder in the Element Properties to create a set of options, with each option having a currency value. Each of these options has a different usage:
  • Radio Buttons: Allows the user to select a single option.
  • Checkboxes: Allows the user to select multiple options.
  • Select Dropdown: Allows the user to select a single option from a dropdown (conserves space).
To enable one of these fields as a currency field, check off the "Assign currency" checkbox in the Element Properties window. Then, add each possible selection on a new line in the List Builder (also found in the Element Properties):

The "Items" column represents the options that the user will see in the selection element (i.e., labels on radio buttons or checkboxes, or entries in a dropdown menu). The "Alternate Result" column is the description which will appear in the Form Results tab - this is optional. If this field is not filled out, then the contents of the "Items" column will be used in the Form Results, instead. Finally, the "Assign Currency" column determines the cost of each selection.

See our article on Working with Option Lists for more information.

Hidden Fields

A hidden field works almost exactly like a text field, except that the user will be unable to see or update it. Hidden fields can be used to add a static amount to a form that cannot be changed. For example, if your application form has a $50 fee, you can use a hidden field to add that amount.

  • Add a Hidden Field to your form (found under Standard Elements).
  • Open the element settings, and check off the "Use this field for currency" option.
  • Add a default value for the field.

When using hidden fields, we recommend that you add a note to the user of some kind that the charge is being added.

Some tips when using currency fields:
  • Marking a selection field as required will force the user to choose at least one option before they can proceed.
  • When adding currency fields to a form, most of the time it will be helpful to include a field at the end of the form to calculate the total that the user will be charged. This can be done by adding a text field to the form, and selecting the "Use to display totals from currency fields" option in the Element Properties. (Note: This is especially important when using Hidden Fields for currency, as this is the only way to indicate that charge to the user before payment.) 
  • When working with selection fields, you can opt to have the value, the label, and/or the alternate result appear in the Results tab, using the checkboxes at the bottom of the List Builder. 

Negative Values

Currency fields can be set up with a negative values to subtract from the overall submission total. (See Adding Coupons or Discount Codes for a practical application of this.)

Note: Finalsite forms is not able to debit your merchant account!

By default, any form submitted with an overall dollar value that is less than 0 will be displayed as "0.00" in the forms report in the Results Tab - the actual total will not be calculated if it is negative. This allows you to easily see if any user is owed a credit, while preventing any automatic debits from being applied to a financial account. Admins must complete these debit transactions manually.

You can override this behavior on the Payments tab of Forms Manager if you want to automatically accept negative dollar amounts for a specific form. Open the Payments tab, scroll down to the "Other" section, and uncheck the box labeled "Monetary Totals."

With this box unchecked, any forms that are submitted with a negative dollar amount will be processed automatically by Forms Manager, the negative value will be sent to the credit card processor, and the Results Tab will display the actual calculated negative value rather than "$0.00." This transaction will fail however, because by the design of the credit card processing network, credit card gateways cannot automatically pay in to a purchaser's credit card account. You will still have to enter the appropriate transaction manually to your credit card processor.

Alternate Payment Methods

The default method for payment on a form is by credit card, but you may want to allow people to submit their payments another way, such as by check. Fortunately, you can set up alternate payment methods on a form, and allow people to select which one they want to use.

Note: Alternate payment methods do not actually process funds. Alternate methods allow the site admin to specify instructions for later payment.

To create an alternate payment method: 

  1. Open the form in Forms Manager, and navigate to the Payment tab
  2. Click the green "Add payment type" link.

  3. In the box, type the label you want to give it, e.g., "Check" or "Purchase Order" (Maximum 50 characters), and click the green checkmark to save it.

  4. Click the Edit Instructions link.
  5. In the pop-up, enter any relevant instructions for the user that pertain to this payment method. For example, this could include who to make a check out to, and the address to send it.

  6. Click Update, and then Save Changes to save your edits.

These alternate payment methods will appear after the user has submitted the form. The user will be able to choose between Credit Card, and any alternate options you have created.

To delete an alternate payment method, uncheck the checkbox next to the option, and save the Payment tab settings.

Enable Secure Connections on the Form Page

After creating a form, you must place it in a Form element on a page in order to display it on your site. The best practice is to establish a secure connection with a user's browser whenever you display a form that collects payments. (Browsers always establish a secure connection already when connecting to the payment gateway. Establishing a secure connection with the page that the form is on wraps that secure payment connection, as well as the entire connection to your school's site, in another layer of encryption. This allows your site to secure not only the user's credit card information, but also any personal data you may collect on your form.) 

To do this, go to the page that displays your form, and click the pink gear icon at the bottom to bring up Page Settings.


The Page Settings window pops up. On the "General" tab, select the checkbox labeled "Serve page over secure (SSL) connection":


Save and publish the page. The browser should now show a green "Secure" indicator to the left of the site URL in the address bar. 

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