Odiham District

Detailed joining instructions

An overview of the process

Before we detail the actions you need to take, let’s take a quick look at the overall process. There are three systems involved:

  • The first is the Odiham and District u3a website. This is where you go to start the process.
  • Next, you will enter your details into the u3a’s member information system. It is called Beacon.
  • Then, you will go to PayPal to make your membership payment.  At this point, many people say, “I don’t have a PayPal account, nor do I want to create one”. That’s ok - you don’t have to.  

We all know of PayPal as a way of making payments on e-commerce sites like eBay. To do this, we need a PayPal account.

However, PayPal is also simply a means of taking credit card payments. It is this PayPal functionality that Beacon uses. Thus, you don’t need a PayPal account to renew your u3a membership. We’ll explain about this later. 

The actions you need to take

Here is what you need to do to become an Odiham and District u3a member…

  • Select the “How.to.join” tab at the top of the Odiham u3a home page (search for “Odiham u3a” to find this website).

  • Select “Agree” halfway down this “How.to.join” page. You will now go into the u3a’s Beacon system in which you will register with Odiham u3a, and will make this year’s membership payment. 

  • Select whether or not you want to allow the u3a to claim Gift Aid. Note that you need to pay either income, capital gains or dividends tax in order to do so. 

  • Fill in all your details in the Beacon system.

  • Select “Make Payment”. 

  • Select the “Continue to Paypal to make payment” button. You are now going to make a payment, either by using a credit or debit card or through an existing PayPal account

  • If you don’t have a PayPal account, you will simply be using Paypal to take the appropriate amount of money from your credit card. Enter your email address and press the “Pay by Credit or Debit card” button on the “Log into PayPal” screen (i.e. you will not be logging into PayPal at all).  The screens you will go through are shown in the “Making a non-PayPal-account payment” section below.

  • If you have a PayPal account, simply log into PayPal.

Making a non-PayPal-account payment

If you don’t see “Pay by Credit or Debit card” on the screen below when you first go into PayPal, it may be because you have already logged onto a PayPal account in this web browser and PayPal has recorded this information. 

If you don’t want to log into PayPal to make your payment, you will probably need to do something known as “deleting your cookies”. See the section below that explains this.

If you don’t want to use PayPal, then click on “Continue to Payment”. If you want to use an existing PayPal account, click on “Log in”.


If you still wish to pay by card, but don’t want to create a PayPal account, you must move the “Save information and create your PayPal account” slider to the left. 

Then press “Pay now as guest”.


PayPal and “deleting your cookies”

What are “cookies” in the context of web browsers like Google Chrome? 

When you visit most web sites, they record information about what you do on their sites. Some of this information is transient and disappears when you leave the site. But much of it is persistent and remains stored in your browser for the next time you visit that site.

These pieces of information that are stored in your web browser are known as “cookies”; transient cookies and persistent cookies.

PayPal uses cookies. If you log onto PayPal, it records information about this logon in persistent cookies.

So, when you return to the PayPal website to make your payment to the u3a, PayPal uses cookies to infer that you’ve logged onto PayPal account in the past, and it doesn’t offer you the “Pay by Credit or Debit card” option. The only option you have is to log into your PayPal account. 

If you don’t want to use an existing PayPal account (for example, some u3a members use a PayPal account for charitable work, and can’t use it for personal payments), then you have to “delete your browser’s cookies”.

All web browsers allow you to do this. Typically, this is in the “settings” area of the browser where you need to select something like “privacy and security”.  You will need to select “clear browser data”, and within that screen, select  “clear cookies”. 

Repeat the PayPal payment process, and you should see the “Pay by Credit or Debit card” option in the first PayPal screen.