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What is a Payment Request Link (Pay By Link)

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Last editedSep 20212 min read

A payment link, also referred to as a pay by link, is a form of e-commerce solution that enables shoppers to pay for an online purchase. Although payment 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 any merchant to take payments via a range of digital, online methods, without them necessarily having an online site for their business. The phrase that is often used to describe the use of a payment link is “contextual commerce”. 

In simple terms, contextual commerce refers to a method in which the merchant requests a payment from the shopper, rather than simply expecting the shopper to work their way through the various stages of the payment process. Instead, a payment link, which facilitates an online payment, is generated by the merchant and sent to the customer, enabling them to make payments instantly online. 

The appeal of the process for merchants and shoppers alike 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:

  • As a merchant you generate a payment link

  • You share that payment link with the customer

  • 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.)

  • As a merchant you then receive notification that the payment has been made

  • Sharing 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. 

  • Accepting payment link payments cuts overheads, as it removes the requirement for a third-party application or a point of sale terminal, which means saving on time, installation, maintenance and staff training. 

  • It’s possible to share payment links on all of the social media and messaging platforms. This means that payment links can be attached to customised messages as a form of promotion and marketing

  • Merchants using payment links can create flexible payment plans, enabling customers to pay in instalments, for example. 

  • Pay by link creates an entirely 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. 

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

  • 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. 

  • 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 pay by link, at any time and in any location. 

We Can Help

If you’re interested in finding out more about a payment request link, or any other aspect of your business finances, then get in touch with our financial experts. Find out how GoCardless can help you with ad hoc payments or recurring payments.

Over 70,000 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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