I have a subscription service that people pay monthly for, so I’ve setup a “Virtual Product” with a Recurring Profile. At the same time, I want to have it so they can add different one time products. To accomplish this I’ve tried creating a “Bundled Product” with all the different one time products and adding the “Virtual Product” to that “Bundled Product”.

However, when I go to checkout it says “Nominal item can be purchased standalone only. To proceed please remove other items from the quote.” How do I allow people to subscribe to the service and purchase the products at the same time?

**note: I am using Paypal Website Payment Pro as my merchant account.

  • I hate bumping, but anybody?
    – J Lee
    Jul 25, 2010 at 15:22
  • Seems like pretty specialized software. You might find webmasters with knowledge, but wouldn't be surprised if you got better support on their formus: magentocommerce.com/boards
    – JasonBirch
    Jul 26, 2010 at 5:58
  • Yea, I've tried the boards, but I got no response. So I'm trying here as well as places like stackoverflow. Magento is a widely distributed application, yet community support for it is so limited.
    – J Lee
    Jul 27, 2010 at 5:34
  • @fewpeople: Just for reference, there is a propoal on Area 51 for a Magento site - you might consider following it: area51.stackexchange.com/proposals/9869/…
    – BenV
    Jul 28, 2010 at 4:08
  • @BenV I'll try over there, but I'm not too sure if it'll be any better than stack overflow...I mean one of the posts there was "How did magneto acquire his powers?"
    – J Lee
    Jul 28, 2010 at 15:59

2 Answers 2


You can use paypal subscriptions for this easily. Paypal website payments standard supports this, allowing you to accept visa, mc, paypal, amex as payment methods for your subscribers.

You cannot create a stored button for this, becuse the stored buttons are encrypted with a set amount or subscription profile.

You create a standard button. Your application logic can programatically create the variables for the subscription. The price, recurrance, ect. So if your product is 20 per month, and the user gets an add on for 5 more then you create a subscribe button for $25.

This is easy to do with any server side scripting language. PHP libraries (plus others) are available for encrypting the button. Paypal calls this EWP. The encryption ensures that someone cannot modify the amounts outside of your subscription service and try to "hack the system". Its not necessary because you can monitor your paypal account to watch for "odd" subscription amounts.

Paypal will also notify you by email on new subscriptions, and can even talk to your server by a process they call IPN (instant payment notification)

The only drawbacks of using paypal are: 1. some people think it looks cheap 2. paypal stores the credit card info for your subscribers (this is good since you dont have to deal with pci compliance), its bad because you are locked in. 3. Paypal charges 2.9% plus a transaction fee each time there is a charge. this is very low compared to industry averages but can be a problem if you have 100k subscribers because then youd qualify for interchange plus pricing 4. user goes to paypal site briefly to create the subscription.

A more professional approach is to sign up for a real merchant account. Use an api for your gateway to program exact subscription rates, store your clients in a db, and bill them accordingly monthly using hte API


After a recurring profile is enabled for a product, the product becomes what’s called a “nominal item.” Nominal items do not differ from regular products in terms of catalog navigation, layered navigation, price indexing, RSS, and so on until they are added to the shopping cart. Then they differ from regular products in the following way:

Nominal items are not added to regular totals (taxes, subtotal, and grand total).
Gift cards, store credit, and reward points are not applied to nominal items.
Subtotal, tax, shipping, and other nominal charges are separately calculated for a nominal item.
All nominal totals are summed into the nominal grand total.
Payment methods available for nominal products are limited to PayPal Express Checkout only.
The list of available shipping methods during the shopping cart checkout is restricted to the fixed only (Fixed, Table Rates, and Free).

You can read more about the Magento recurring profile here.


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