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What is a Payment Request Link (Pay By Link)

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Last editedMay 20232 min read

Pay by link is an e-commerce solution that enables shoppers to pay for an online purchase. Although pay by link as a way to pay is not completely new – having been used in industries such as hospitality for some time – it is now becoming increasingly popular across a range of other sectors. The reason for this growing popularity is that it enables merchants to take payments online in a manner that minimises the friction experienced at checkout.

Pay by link enables customers to make a payment simply by clicking on a secure link and following the proceeding steps. A payment link is initiated by the merchant using a payment provider, such as GoCardless, then sent to the customer, enabling them to make the payment in a manner of clicks.

The payment provider handles the technical side of processing the payment, including security.

Pay by link is a straightforward and safe way to collect or make payments without the need to input card details. Payment links can be sent via any channel, making them highly versatile and also ideal across any device, whether in person, online, on mobile phones, SMS and more.

Contextual commerce refers to the concept that shoppers should be able to conveniently make payments no matter the context of the payment, e.g., across different payment methods and channels, from in-store to online and on social media.

Payment links are an additional method businesses can use to ensure purchases can be made without friction in a wider range of business settings.

The appeal of the process for both the business and shopper lies in its speed and simplicity, and the fact that it works across a wide range of devices and platforms. The whole process can be broken down into a few simple steps:

  • The merchant generates a payment link using their payments solution

  • The payment link is shared with the customer via the most suitable channel

  • The customer receives the payment link

  • The customer clicks on the link

  • The customer is redirected to a secure payment page, where they can complete their purchase

  • The customer can make the payment using a wide range of payment methods, such as a payment card, an e-wallet, a bank transfer etc.)

  • The merchant receives notification that the payment has been confirmed

How to collect payments with GoCardless


Create your free GoCardless account, access your user-friendly payments dashboard & connect your accounting software (if you use one).


Easily set up & schedule one-off or recurring payments via payment pages on your website checkout or secure payment links.


From now on you'll get paid on time, every time, as GoCardless automatically collects payment on the scheduled date. Simple.

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  1. Pay by link comes with the backing of a secured payment gateway. The majority of solutions are equipped with fraud protection and can handle chargebacks. 

  2. Using payment links can cut overheads, as it can remove the need for point of sale card readers terminals and the associated fees.

  3. It’s possible to share payment links on social media and messaging platforms. This means that payment links can be attached to customised promotions and marketing.

  4. Payment links can also be used to set up flexible payment plans, enabling customers to pay in instalments, for example. This is only possible through certain payment solutions, like GoCardless Instant Bank Pay for recurring payments.

  5. Pay by link creates a smooth customer experience with on the spot, flexible payments and high speed transactions. Experiences of this kind are likely to drive repeat custom and improve customer satisfaction. 

  6. Customers don’t need to download an additional app in order to make their payment. 

  7. The payment link service provider that a merchant chooses will reach standards that comply with all relevant legislation dealing with customer data security. This means that the applications in question have 3DS 2 protocol and PCI DSS compliance built in. 

  8. Pay by link enables customers to make payments from wherever they happen to be. Rather than having to visit a particular location or even access a specific device, customers can make their payments via whatever device they use to access the payment link.

We Can Help

GoCardless is a global payments solution that helps you automate payment collection, cutting down on the amount of financial admin your team needs to deal with. Find out how GoCardless can help you with one-off or recurring payments.

Over 85,000 businesses use GoCardless to get paid on time. Learn more about how you can improve payment processing at your business today.

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