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What is a Payment Request Link (Pay By Link)

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Last editedAug 20236 min read

Pay by link at a glance:

A "Pay by Link" or "Payment Request Link" is a simple, convenient way for businesses to collect money from their customers. Businesses can create a link with a payment provider's help and send it to their customers through email, text, or other communication channels. When customers click on this link, they're directed to a secure page to complete their purchase using their preferred payment method, like a credit or debit card, a digital wallet, or a bank transfer.

This method is efficient because customers don't have to manually enter payment details, making the process fast and secure and can pay on any device and from any location. These links are also flexible, meaning they can be used in various ways, such as promoting special offers on social media or setting up payment plans where customers can pay in instalments.

Overall, the Pay by Link method offers many benefits. It's secure, as payment providers ensure that transactions are protected from fraud and meet all legal requirements. It's cost-efficient since businesses don't need to buy and maintain card reader terminals. It offers a better experience for customers, who can pay quickly and easily without downloading additional apps. And it's versatile and convenient, allowing businesses to collect payments in various ways and settings.

A Payment Request Link, or Pay By Link, is a dynamic online payment method that allows businesses to send a link via email, SMS, or other communication channels to request a specific payment from their customers, streamlining the payment process by eliminating customers' need to enter payment details manually. Instead, customers click on the link, which directs them to a secure payment portal to complete the transaction using their preferred payment method, including credit or debit card, digital wallets, or bank transfers. By offering convenience, security, and a seamless user experience, payment request links are becoming an increasingly popular choice in digital commerce.

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 another 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 pay using various payment methods, such as a payment card, an e-wallet, a bank transfer etc.)

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

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

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

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

  • Improved operations: Using payment links can cut overheads, as it can remove the need for point-of-sale card reader terminals and the associated fees.

  • Versatility: Sharing payment links on social media and messaging platforms is possible. This means that payment links can be attached to customised promotions and marketing.

  • Customisation: Payment links can also set up flexible payment plans, enabling customers to pay in instalments. This is possible through specific payment solutions offered by GoCardless, such as fixed-term, automated, recurring bank payments such as Direct Debit and Instant Bank Pay for recurring payments.

  • Reduce customer churn: Pay by link creates a smooth customer experience with on-the-spot, flexible payments and high-speed transactions. Experiences of this kind will likely drive repeat customers and improve customer satisfaction.

  • Ease-of-use: Customers don’t need to download an additional app to pay or remember to pay each month manually, and the set-up is quick, so they don't have to spend time entering card details

  • Built-in compliance: A merchant's payment link service provider will reach standards that comply with all relevant legislation dealing with customer data security. This means the applications have 3DS2 protocol and PCI DSS compliance built in.

  • Payment portability: Pay by link enables customers to make payments wherever they are. Rather than having to visit a particular location or even access a specific device, customers can pay via whatever device they use to access the payment link.

Case study

Squeegee, a popular field services app, credits its exponential growth since its 2018 launch to its dynamic features and streamlined payment process powered by GoCardless. COO Susie Bishop highlights that automation is critical to Squeegee's offering, enabling job updates to seamlessly flow from workers to the back office, thus reducing administrative and staffing costs and streamlining cash flow.

A crucial component of Squeegee's operations is its integration with GoCardless, a renowned provider of direct bank payments in the field service industry. This integration allows Squeegee customers to effortlessly trigger invoicing, payment collection, and financial reconciliation after job completion. This case study highlights the salient feature of the Payment Request Link (Pay By Link) provided by GoCardless, which lets Squeegee customers get on board quickly and initiate payments smoothly.

Susie Bishop stated, 

GoCardless is a recognised global provider with a great reputation in the field service industry – they were the natural choice for our direct bank payments. The integration has enabled us to take the admin-busting features of GoCardless and seamlessly make them a feature of our own product.

The integration with GoCardless has proved successful, providing a payment success rate of over 90%, significantly higher than other methods. Susie says this high success rate is because,

Customers get notified when a charge is coming up, meaning they’re always prepared. And, unlike cards, bank accounts don’t expire – they almost never change, in fact.

Moreover, the implementation of GoCardless API into the Squeegee platform was straightforward and completed within two weeks. Ed Bishop, Co-founder and CTO at Squeegee confirmed,

They [GoCardless] follow industry standard best practices for API design and implementation, so we have had no issues adding it to the Squeegee platform.

In conclusion, integrating GoCardless's Pay By Link feature has been a crucial element of Squeegee's success, enabling simplified payments, higher payment success rates, and greater customer satisfaction.

Get paid faster - reduce your stress and improve cash flow by automating payment collection with GoCardless.

We can help

Are you grappling with the immediate issue of ensuring a smooth, secure, and efficient payment process for your business? If so, we have your solution: Payment Request Links (Pay By Link).

With Pay By Link, your customers are provided with a secure link sent via email, SMS, or other channels of your choice. They click the link, are directed to a secure payment portal, and complete the transaction.

Why it works: Here's the logic behind the success of Payment Request Links: they work by eliminating friction and enhancing convenience. GoCardless handles the technical side of payment processing, including security. The link can be shared across various channels and accessed on any device, so it can be adapted to suit any business context.

Ease and support: The process is straightforward. You generate a payment link using your payment solution, share it with the customer, and upon their click, they get redirected to a secure page to complete the transaction. Once the payment is confirmed, you receive a notification.

GoCardless makes it quick and easy to get started with no contracts or long-term commitment required. You can set up instant, one-off, or recurring payments in the merchant dashboard in just a few clicks. GoCardless automatically creates and sends all the necessary forms, doing all the heavy lifting for you. You can connect to GoCardless via over  350 partner apps like Xero and Quickbooks.

Discover how GoCardless can automate payment collection, making it easier to concentrate on what matters most - your business growth.

Reduce transaction fees, late and failed payments and tiresome manual admin.

Frequently asked questions

Why use pay by link?

Utilising a Payment Request Link, or Pay By Link, offers businesses a seamless, secure, and highly efficient method to request and receive payments online. It enables merchants to send their customers a direct payment link via email, SMS, or social media, thus eliminating the need for physical card terminals or complex payment gateways. This mechanism significantly streamlines the payment process, improves cash flow by accelerating payment receipt, reduces administrative overhead, and enhances the customer experience with convenience and flexibility. Furthermore, with secure encryption and robust fraud prevention measures, Pay By Link ensures the highest level of payment security, instilling confidence in both businesses and consumers.

What does pay by link mean?

A Payment Request Link, commonly known as "Pay by Link," is a method for online transactions that enables businesses to request customer payments via a uniquely generated URL securely. This link, often sent through email, text, or other messaging platforms, directs the customer to a secure payment page where they can complete the transaction using their preferred payment methods, such as Direct Debit or card payment. The convenience and security of Pay by Link transactions make them an increasingly popular choice for businesses and consumers, providing a versatile solution for remote payments, invoices, e-commerce, and more.

How does pay-by-link work?

A Payment Request Link, or Pay-by-Link, is a secure and efficient online payment method merchants use to request customer payments. The process begins when the merchant generates a unique payment link via their payment service provider's platform. This link, sent via email, text message, or integrated within an invoice, directs the customer to a secure payment page. Here, the customer can fulfil the payment using their preferred methods, such as Direct Debit or card payment. Upon completion, the merchant and the customer receive instant notification of the payment status. Pay-by-Link streamlines the payment process, reduces the need for physical POS systems, and allows businesses to serve customers remotely and securely.

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

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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