Raise your hand if you’ve ever gotten a bill, and then had to dig through the company’s website just to find out how or where to pay it.

Imagine if you could just teleport straight to the payment screen, with all the purchase details already filled in. That’s exactly what payment links do.

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If you’re a customer wondering if you can trust a payment link, or a business thinking about adding pay-by-link to your site, put your hand down and read on. We’ll cover how to use payment links, how to tell if they’re safe, and the best payment link providers.

Payment links are one of the most useful checkout methods because they’re so versatile. A link can be specific to one transaction or always tied to a particular product or service. They can be personalized to one customer, or available for anyone to click. You can even decide whether the link is one-time use, time-limited, or a permanent link for recurring payments. This makes them especially helpful for subscriptions, invoices, and quotes.

And unlike a shopping cart or payment form, a link can go wherever your customers go. You can add URLs to text messages, emails, chats, or even embed them directly into your quotes. While QR codes can be added to print ads, product displays, menus, and more.

Are payment links safe?

Real payment links connect to secure payment gateways run by third-party payment processors. You’re probably already familiar with processors like PayPal or Square. These payment service providers (PSPs) use encryption and tokenization to protect your payment data.

That said, a link is only as secure as the company providing it, so it’s important to use your best judgment before clicking anything. Customers should always stick with trusted businesses. And businesses should choose a payment provider that follows Payment Card Industry data security standards (PCI DSS).

How can I create a payment link?

Just like accepting credit cards or ACH payments, you’ll first need to find a payment services provider or PSP. The exact steps will depend on the provider, but you’ll almost always have to:

  • Create an account. This may involve a credit check or underwriting process, so it’s best to get it done before you need to start accepting payments.
  • Create a payment page or product page. Some PSPs may require you to connect your link to a product or service, while others will only need you to assign a dollar value.
  • Create the payment link. This is where you’ll add details like billing terms and who can access the link.
  • Send the link. Your secure payment link is now shareable.

1. HubSpot Payments

Creating a payment link on HubSpot Payments

HubSpot Payments is a multi-purpose payment tool that integrates with your CMS. That means you can securely connect payment links to your website, chatbot, sales workflows, marketing emails, and more.

But the best part is that it also integrates with your CRM, so it can automatically update your customer records with purchase history, payment activity, etc. This allows your sales, marketing, and service teams to always have the most up-to-date information.

Payment methods: Credit card, debit card, ACH

Cost: 0.5% per transaction for ACH (capped at $10), 2.9% per transaction for credit cards

2. Stripe Payment Links

Creating a payment link in Stripe

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Stripe is a globally-known payment platform, and provides everything from mobile apps to credit card terminals.

For payment links, it offers the simplicity of pre-built payment pages and checkout carts, so you can get started quickly. You can also customize these portals with your logo and brand colors.

Payment methods: Credit card, debit card, ACH, Google Pay, Apple Pay

Cost: 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction

3. Square Online Checkout

Payment links on Square

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Most people know Square for its mobile card readers, but it also has a suite of online checkout solutions.

It’s also one of the quickest ways to get started with payment links. You don’t even need to have a website. Just sign up for a free seller account and you can make simple links with their payment link generator.

Payment methods: Credit card, debit card, Google Pay, Apple Pay

Cost: 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction

4. PayPal.Me

Payment links on PayPal.Me

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PayPal is one of the most widely-known payment providers on Earth. That means your customers know they can trust your payment links.

PayPal.Me works a little differently from the other entries on this list. Instead of sending your customers to a payment page, it directs them to your PayPal account.

PayPal.Me also allows works with personal accounts, so you can use payment links for things like splitting bills or sending cash.

Payment methods: Credit card, debit card, PayPal, Venmo

Cost: 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction

5. QuickBooks Online

Creating a payment link on QuickBooks Online

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If you’re already using QuickBooks for your accounting, you should know that payment links are a built-in feature. That said, they are more limited in function than the other options on this list.

QuickBooks only offers single-use links, so they’re only good for one customer and one purchase at a time. This makes them a great choice for businesses that do invoice billing, but not ideal for retail.

Payment methods: Credit card, debit card, ACH

Cost: 1% per transaction for ACH (capped at $10), 2.9% + $0.25 per transaction for credit cards

Just a Click Away

Payment links reduce friction by making it easy to make a payment. And when you make it easier for your customers to make a payment, you make it easier for you to get paid.

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Originally published Jul 19, 2022 6:00:00 AM, updated July 19 2022