In today’s fast-paced digital world, merchants are constantly seeking innovative and efficient ways to facilitate transactions. Whether it's a small business owner looking to expand online sales or a seasoned e-commerce giant aiming to enhance the customer experience, the need for flexible and user-friendly payment solutions is paramount.

Enter the world of payment links - a simple yet powerful tool that's revolutionising the way merchants conduct business online. But what exactly are payment links, and how can they be leveraged to streamline the payment process?

In this guide, we'll explore the concept of payment links, delve into their functionality, and uncover the many benefits they offer to merchants. From understanding the different types to learning how to create and use them effectively, this article is your go-to resource for all things related to payment links.

What is a payment link?

A payment link is essentially a URL or QR code that directs customers to a stand-alone web page where they can complete a transaction. It's a simple and efficient way for merchants to request and accept online payments without having to build a website or checkout page. Payment links can take various forms, including buttons, URLs, or QR codes, and can be shared across different channels like email, SMS, or social media.

How do payment links work?

Understanding how payment links work is essential for any merchant looking to utilise them. Here's an overview of how they work.

Setting up the payment page

The process begins with setting up the payment page. Merchants can create payment links by subscribing to a payment processing company that offers this functionality. The payment provider will give a secure payment page where customers will be directed to enter their payment information.

Customer agreement

Once the customer agrees to the transaction, the merchant is ready to share the URL. This agreement is a crucial step, ensuring that the customer is fully aware of the transaction details before proceeding.

Sending the payment link

Sending the payment link is the next step, and it's usually sent via email or SMS, but merchants also have the flexibility to copy and paste links manually into other platforms. This versatility allows merchants to reach customers through various channels, enhancing the overall convenience of the process.

Making the payment

Finally, the customer makes the payment. Once they receive the payment link, they simply click the link or scan the QR code to be taken directly to the online payment page to enter their payment details. Depending on how the page has been set up, this could include fields to enter credit card details, or digital wallet options like Apple Pay or Google Pay.

Let’s recap: The process of using payment links involves setting up the payment page, obtaining customer agreement, sending the payment link, and facilitating the customer's payment. It's a streamlined and user-friendly process that offers both the merchant and the customer a seamless transaction experience.

Types of payment links

Payment links typically come in one of the following forms:

  • One-time link: Sent over SMS, email, or social media, allowing the recipient to enter payment details in a browser.
  • Email invoice link: With invoices, merchants can specify recipient details, including name, address, and other company details.
  • Buy Button: Placed on an e-commerce website, leading to a typical online store checkout page.

What are the benefits of using payment links for merchants?

Payment links have many benefits and cater to various business needs.

  • Quick and easy: Payment links are quick to create and easy to use, making them accessible even for those without a lot of technical know-how.
  • Flexibility: This simplicity doesn't compromise their effectiveness, as they offer flexibility in customisation and can be set up in mere minutes.
  • Multi-channel use: Merchants can share payment links across various digital channels, from emails to social media, providing a multi-channel approach to reaching customers.
  • Low maintenance: Payment links are an ideal solution for businesses that don't process a large volume of online sales, offering a low-maintenance solution that still allows for a variety of payment options.

When to use payment links

Payment links can be utilised in various scenarios, making them suitable for a wide range of businesses and situations:

  • New or small businesses without a website: If you have a new business or handle most of your transactions in person, payment links allow you to accept online payments without the need for a full-fledged e-commerce site.
  • Selling through multiple digital channels: For merchants who conduct business directly on social media, through text messages, newsletters, or other digital platforms, payment links enable a tailored experience for each channel.
  • Sporadic sales or special editions: If you release special products a few times a year or have seasonal sales, payment links can facilitate these transactions without building them into your permanent website.
  • Distinct audiences or fundraisers: For those who plan fundraisers or have different target audiences, distinct payment links can be created for each event or segment, maintaining a unique donation or sales page.
  • In-person selling without hardware: By adding a QR code that goes to your payment page on a poster or flyer, you can facilitate in-person sales without needing additional hardware.
  • Occasional online sales: Even if you mostly sell in person and have a website, payment links can be used in specific situations, offering flexibility in how you reach your customers.
  • Unpredictable business needs: If there's an element of unpredictability in your business, such as selling fresh produce or baked goods, payment links allow you to move quickly and adapt to changing demands.
  • Global reach: For businesses aiming to reach international customers, payment links can be customised to accept various currencies and payment methods, broadening your market reach.
  • Subscription services: If you offer subscription-based products or services, payment links can be configured to handle recurring payments, ensuring a smooth and automated billing process.
  • Freelancers and service providers: Professionals who charge on a per-project basis or send electronic invoices may find payment links more intuitive and personalised for each client.

Payment links are not just a one-size-fits-all solution. They can be adapted to various business models and needs. Whether it's a startup looking for a cost-effective online payment solution or a global brand aiming to enhance customer experience, payment links offer a flexible and efficient way to handle transactions.

How to create a payment link

Creating a payment link is simple and typically involves just a few steps for a merchant:

  • Choosing a payment service provider: Select a payment processing company that offers payment link functionality.
  • Customising the link: Depending on the provider, you may have branding capabilities to customise your page.
  • Sharing the link: Send the payment link through the desired channel.

You can find more information on how to send a payment link to your customers with Pin Payments here.

Tips for choosing a payment link service provider

When choosing a payment link provider, it's important for merchants to consider:

  • Cost: Understand the pricing plans and transaction fees.
  • Supported payment methods: Check if they support various payment methods like credit cards, digital wallets, etc.
  • Customization: Look for providers that allow customization of the payment link.
  • Reputation: Consider the reputation and reliability of the provider.

Unleash the power of payment links with Pin Payments

Pin Payments is a modern, small business-friendly solution that helps you accept card payments from customers online - including via payment links. It's fast and free to join, with no lock-in contracts or monthly fees.

Get started with Pin Payments today to start realising the benefits of payment links.