12 ways to optimise your payment page

Over 68% of people who reach a payment page never complete payment. This guide looks at our 12 top tips for increasing that all important conversion rate, to make sure your hard work doesn't go to waste.


A great deal of hard work goes into guiding your website visitors through the entire customer journey. It can take the combined effort of marketing, sales, design, engineering and more to make this happen. So, knowing that a user has reached the payment page after consuming all the right content will lead to a sigh of relief. The hard work is finally over, right?

Unfortunately, 68% of people who reach the payment page will leave without making a payment, according to analysis from Statista. Have you ever stopped to look at your own payment page? Where are the barriers that cause your very-nearly customers to leave your site?

To help you reduce exits at the final hurdle, we’ve put together a post with our twelve top tips for improving your payment page conversion rate:

1. Keep it to one page

It can be tempting to keep information on each page to a minimum, and spread the various parts of the payment process over many pages. If you can help it, don’t. According to research carried out by Baymard, 27% of people will abandon the checkout page if the process is too long or complicated.

Instead, try and keep the process to one page. Yes, it will force you to choose only the most important information to collect but that’s good practice anyway.

How can GoCardless help?

The GoCardless Pro package allows you to create and use your own custom payment pages, which can be hosted on your own site or platform. There’s no need to redirect the user away from your site, immediately removing one unnecessary step in the checkout flow.

2. Show users how they’re progressing through the page

As important as it is to have a single payment page, it’s also vital to let the user know how they’re progressing through the payment process. If they think another page awaits, even if they’re wrong, they may abandon the process. By adding completion markers to sections of the payment page, you can unobtrusively show how close the user is to completing their payment.

You could create a ‘percent completed’ marker or a visual bar showing how many steps are done, and how many still remain.

3. Don’t force your users to register for an account

For obvious reasons, it’s appealing to make the user to register for an account before paying for something. It creates a much more detailed customer profile and will allow you to target them more effectively with further communications.

However, it’s also a conversion killer, with 35% of people saying they would abandon the payment page if forced to do so. Instead, give the option of a guest checkout, and you can always prompt the user to complete an account registration after payment.

4. Create trust through site seals

A key decision factor for any user is trust and site seals are available to reinforce this trust, as they show an independent third party has verified your site.

These seals have different levels of trust among different customers. According to a study by Conversion XL, the ‘PayPal Verified’ seal had the overall highest trust with 25% of people indicating they trusted it the most over 14 other common seals, with the ‘Google Trusted Store’ seal also scoring highly with 15%.

Interestingly, Visa and Mastercard were by far the most recognised seals but scored much lower on trustworthiness.

Bonus tip: The Baymard study also found that users preferred enhanced ‘visual security’ on payment pages, even if it didn’t actually add extra security. Increase visual security by simply wrapping the payment information fields in a separate box and placing the trust seals in those boxes.

5. Keep key purchase information close at hand

24% of users indicated that they would abandon the checkout process if they couldn’t see or calculate their order or subscription up-front. Knowing this, it’s important to provide the user with a simple snapshot of exactly what they’re signing up to and how much it will cost.

6. Stay on brand

Assuming your users have decided to trust your brand, it’s important that your payment page aligns with the overall branding of the website. If the elements such as layout, font, colours or UX differ from page to page, it can reduce the trust the user has on this page, resulting in abandonment at checkout.

How can GoCardless help?

GoCardless Pro allows you to build custom payment pages. You can white label these payment pages, removing any mention of GoCardless and keeping all styling elements consistent.

7. Pre-fill information you already have

You may have already collected some of the information you need for the payment page elsewhere in the buying process. For example, an energy supplier will already have the user’s address from the initial quote.

If so, put this to good use and pre-fill the information at checkout. Your customers will appreciate saving those valuable few seconds.

8. Remove distractions

While consistency in branding is key, you may want to scale back some of the distractions that tempt users to head elsewhere if something catches their attention. One way to do this is to either slim down or completely remove header and footers.

Another common distraction is the coupon box. Consumers are generally savvy shoppers and know how to seek out a discount before checking out. While you should keep the coupon option available if it’s part of your payment model, try turning it into a non-intrusive text link.

9. Don’t be ambiguous with fields and CTAs

Clarity is key when it comes to payment pages - don’t give your users any reason to question what they’re supposed to be doing. There are two key areas where any ambiguity can really cause problems during the checkout process: forms and CTAs.

With forms, especially where specific numerical content is required, be sure to use placeholder content to show the customer exactly how to fill it in. A typical example is any form that requires a date. Be clear whether the user needs to write the year ‘1990’ or just ‘90’.

When it comes to calls-to-action, keep it simple. If the CTA in question completes the purchase, be crystal clear. Use something like ‘Complete payment’, rather than ‘Continue’ or ‘Next’, which both imply next steps are needed.

10. Don’t be greedy with information

Gather all the details you need to process an order, but to simplify the process clearly mark essential fields and make any non-essential fields optional. As well as reducing the number of steps needed from a customer, it’s also good sense from a design point of view. As you strive for a single payment page, the fewer the fields, the less cluttered your payment page will be.

11. Let them speak to a real person

Despite your best efforts to make your payment page as robust and clear as possible, things can and do go wrong. In this scenario, your last line of defence is the ability to speak to a real person.

Contact options such as email and phone can be useful, and dedicated software exists to allow you to create live chats directly on the page. Intercom, Drift and various others offer this kind of live chat service.

12. Offer alternative payment options

Not everybody has a credit card, and those that do don't always want to use them, so be sure to offer alternative payment options which suit your customers, e.g. Direct Debit or PayPal.

How can GoCardless help?

GoCardless allows you to add Direct Debit to your selection of payment options in an easy and scalable way. The Pro Package is particularly useful for medium and large businesses looking to process large amounts of payments through Direct Debit, while still maintaining full control over branding and user experience.

A note on long-term planning

All of the above tips are designed to allow you to increase your payment conversion rate straight away. However, it’s also important to be aware of developments or regulations that may impact your payment pages in the future, even if making this change has a negative effect in the short-term.

For example, implementing two-factor authentication (2FA) is a process that may negatively affect payment page conversion rate. Mastercard found that 52% of customers will opt out of 3-D Secure (a specific type of 2FA) and a further 18% will simply close the window. You may think that the best course of action is not to implement (or to remove) 2FA. But with new rules from the European Banking Authority on requiring 2FA on certain online transactions coming into play in 2019, it’s something you need to be aware of.

Getting a head start on any of these regulations allow you to test and make sure they're as optimised as possible before making them live.

Wrapping up

While these tips are ideal starting points for optimising your payment pages, there is no one-solution-fits-all approach, and each business will have its own set of users with their own preferences and approaches to online payments. Therefore, the most important lesson of all is to keep testing. Once you have the first version of your optimised page, be sure to test each element separately, as even the smallest wins in terms of payment page optimisation can result in serious revenue increase.

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