Skip to content
Open site navigation sidebar
Go to GoCardless homepage
Log inSign up

One-click payments, explained

Written by

Last editedApr 20233 min read

An optimized checkout page helps create a seamless shopping experience for customers. One way to make the process more convenient is with a one-click payment. What does one click mean in this context, and how do one-click payment solutions work? Find out what to look for in a one-click checkout with this guide. 

What is a one-click payment?

One-click payment systems allow merchant websites to store consumer payment details. While the customer needs to enter in all their cardholder information at the time of initial purchase, after this they can complete the purchase with a single click. One-click payments require customer permission – they’re not fully automatic. Many systems let customers save multiple payment methods, though one is chosen as a default. One example of this type of system is Click to Pay, a service introduced by Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Discover. Another is Amazon’s Buy Now button, which lets account holders complete their purchase without clicking through to the checkout page for extra verification.

When merchants integrate a one-click payment solution, it doesn’t mean that they physically store all customer card details. Instead, card details are tokenized and stored by the acquirer. Merchants also need to use a PCI-compliant payment gateway to support this process and keep transactions secure.

How do one-click payments work?

To process one-click payments, businesses need to find a suitable payment gateway first. When a customer makes an initial purchase, they have the option to store their card details on file for future purchases. In the future, the customer can then simply hit the “pay now” or “buy” button on the website or app with no additional authentication required. The payment details are already verified and ready to go. In addition to ecommerce websites, one-click payments are also used by apps like Lyft or Uber which automatically take payment at the end of service.

Pros and cons of the one-click payment method

There are plenty of advantages to offering a one-click checkout or payment page. This starts with speed and convenience. Busy consumers can be impatient with a multi-step checkout process. Storing card details for future use means they only need to manually input information a single time.

A one-click payment system provides a seamless solution, removing extra barriers and work. It’s user-friendly once the initial setup is complete. There’s no need to go fetch your card from a wallet to type in card details; instead, online shopping is completed in a matter of clicks. For the merchant, this translates into improved conversion and click-through rates and higher levels of customer satisfaction.

On the other hand, there are a few pitfalls to be aware of. If you decide to offer this type of payment solution, security is extremely important. You’ll need to make sure all details are tokenized and encrypted by a suitable provider.

What are the elements of one-click payments?

One-click payment systems consist of three main elements:

  1. A PCI-DSS compliant payment gateway

  2. Fraud prevention systems

  3. A user-friendly storefront

By choosing the right payment gateway, you can ensure that your customers’ financial details are protected with tokenization. This involves replacing any sensitive data – like card numbers – with unique identification symbols instead. You’ll also need adequate fraud protection to protect your business. Finally, don’t neglect the importance of a seamless, user-friendly storefront. You want to prevent any confusion at checkout by ensuring the customer meant to make the purchase. Offer easy purchase cancellation to prevent chargebacks down the road.

Should you offer a one-click checkout?

Could one-click payment be right for you? It depends on the type of business and industry. This type of system works for businesses that have repeat customers or recurring payments. It’s designed to make it convenient for customers to come back and make additional purchases. Generally, retail ecommerce websites are the type of business that will use this form of payment.

GoCardless offers a way to reduce the time and cost of collecting payments as well. Automate recurring payments including subscriptions, memberships, and invoices. Rather than using cards, you can take advantage of convenient bank-to-bank services like ACH debit and open banking. We also offer Paylinks that can be embedded into invoices and emails. The customer simply clicks on the link to enter their payment details through an easy online portal. It’s quick, easy, and secure.

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.

Get StartedLearn More
Interested in automating the way you get paid? GoCardless can help
Interested in automating the way you get paid? GoCardless can help

Interested in automating the way you get paid? GoCardless can help

Contact sales

Try a better way to collect payments, with GoCardless. It's free to get started.

Try a better way to collect payments

Learn moreSign up