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What are payment links?

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Last editedNov 20223 min read

Payment links are a safe and efficient way for ecommerce businesses to enable customers to pay for their goods quickly. They make the payment process simple and help remove any extra obstacles that might prevent some people from following through on a purchase due to the otherwise complex payment process they would have to complete. 

Payment links (also known as paylinks, pay links or pay buttons) are a safe and efficient way to enable ecommerce customers pay for their goods quickly. They make the payment process simple and remove any extra friction that might prevent purchases due to a complex payment process. 

A payment link appears in the form of a link or button either on the checkout page of your website or sent via text, private message or email. The link or button will open the payment page, where the customer can begin the transaction. Completing the process then authorises the payment amount to travel from the customer to the specified receiver.

The term “payment link” is the most common, though other terms for the same thing include:

  • Payment button

  • Pay button

  • Buy button

  • Pay by link

When you create a payment link, you provide an easy way for customers or clients to pay for goods or services. We'll go into the different forms and uses of paylinks below.

Payment buttons

The payment button, also known as a pay button or buy button, appears on the ecommerce website and directs the customer to the checkout page where they can enter their payment details. 

Some ecommerce businesses send their customers a one-time payment link via SMS or email once they complete a purchase. The customer then clicks on it to access the payment page in a browser. Payment links can also be sent via social media or instant messaging services, and can be time-limited or time-unlimited.

Invoicing for services rendered is also performed via a payment link sent through email. The recipient’s company details are specified, including the name, address and VAT information. Payment links for email invoicing often invoke reminder emails if the payment is not paid by the due date.

Payment links are highly beneficial to businesses for a number of reasons. As a payment link button is essentially code embedded on a website to create a pay or buy button, they are highly customisable for your needs.

  • They’re quick and easy to set up and use. All you need to do is embed a few lines of code on a webpage, email or invoice.

  • Using this code enables you to turn virtually any website into an online store.

  • They’re quick and easy for clients to use, ensuring frictionless payment.

  • Clients do not need to enter your (the recipient's) details, as this is built into the experience.

  • They can be used to facilitate payments from customers all over the world.

  • Payment links are highly customisable, so you can make them look and feel like a part of your website, reinforcing your brand and maintaining the trust of customers.

There are many safe and secure payment link providers around, including the likes of PayPal and Stripe, to name just a couple. The PayPal payment link is probably the most recognisable, but others like the Stripe payment link are just as reliable. 

If your customers have PayPal accounts, then a PayPal payment link is useful for them. It is easy to apply to your website and is free to set up.

The first step is creating a PayPal business account. On PayPal’s website click on Sign Up and then create your PayPal.Me link. Create your profile and click on Agree and Create. The PayPal payment link is then posted on social media or sent via email. It can also be embedded as a button on your website.

The benefit of using PayPal is that it's universally recognised by customers. You do pay for that privilege with higher fees, however.

Creating a Stripe payment link also requires signing up to an account via the Stripe website. It’s a fairly simple process – set it up and start accepting payments within around 10 minutes. Its APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) are developer-friendly, and Stripe users can choose low-code or pre-built solutions to integrate into their websites.

Stripe's offering is focused around card payments, and its higher fees reflect this more expensive payment method. Due to its size, Stripe is less able to give responsive customer support, however it has plenty of technical documentation for developers to work through independently.


GoCardless Instant Bank Pay is powered by VRPs to offer both one-off and recurring payments with instant confirmation and money in the bank. You can either send customers a payment request or add Instant Bank Pay to your checkout.

With a seamless customer experience and authorisation within a few clicks, payments are confirmed in real-time. Learn more about GoCardless payment solutions here.

In addition, GoCardless partners with hundreds of popular software products, including Xero, Chargebee, and QuickBooks. Start fixing your payments today.

Some of your more risk-averse customers may feel uncomfortable clicking on a payment link. They may expect you to provide certain assurances that the link they’re clicking on is safe.

As well as being frictionless to use, paylinks are also very secure. Regardless of which provider you choose, transactions are always fully authenticated and protected, and all sensitive data is heavily encrypted. 

As well as being subject to UK GDPR, payment links are subject to Strong Customer Authentication. This is strictly enforced by the Financial Conduct Authority.

We Can Help

GoCardless provides payment links that can facilitate fast, secure and frictionless payments, enabling SMBs to maintain healthy cash flow while also creating an effortless customer experience. 

If you need help setting up your payment link, read our article that shows you step by step, no matter which platform you're using.

GoCardless offers instant payment links powered by Variable Recurring Payments. Your ideal solution for one-off and regular 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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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

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