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.
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.
A payment link is a URL or QR code that starts an online transaction. Clicking or scanning the link opens a payment portal or page that’s pre-loaded with the details of your purchase. You simply enter your payment details, and payment is made.
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 do I know if my payment link is safe?
Only click on payment links you’re expecting to receive.
Check for HTTPS at the start of the URL.
Make sure the business uses fraud prevention.
Never enter financial data when on a public WiFi network.
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.
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
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
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.
Originally published Jul 19, 2022 6:00:00 AM, updated July 19 2022