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payments

Payment links: What they are, how they work


What are payment links?

Payment links are secure URLs you can share with customers, usually via email, text message, or social media, allowing them to make payments directly after clicking the link.


Online and electronic payments have become an integral part of our lives. Digital payment volume will nearly triple by 2030, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers. One key to enabling smooth and seamless digital transactions is payment links. A payment link is a secure and convenient way for businesses to process and track transactions.

Whether you're an established small business owner, a solopreneur starting an e-commerce store, or a service provider, payment links offer a flexible payment experience. Let’s look at when you should use payment links, their pros and cons, and how to generate them:

An illustration of when to use payment links, such as selling on multiple platforms.

How and when to use payment links 

Payment links work by generating a unique URL that directs customers to a payment gateway where they can complete payment for goods or services. Payment links can be useful for various solopreneurs and business owners. 


For example, you may need to create payment links if you: 


  • Don’t have a website but want to accept digital payments
  • Have a website that lacks e-commerce features 
  • Use various channels for selling
  • Sell in person but don’t want to use point-of-sale systems 
  • Need a tool for sporadic or ad hoc sales 

Say you’re a landscaper that offers custom pricing or add-on services, you can create custom link payments for each specific customer. 

One of the primary use cases for payment links is sharing them on various platforms. You can easily share these links on various platforms such as your website or blog, in-person, or via email, text, social media, or customer service chat:

An illustration of places you can use payment links, such as email or social media.

Website 

To enhance your website or blog's payment process, you can strategically incorporate payment links into various sections. Placing payment links to product pages can streamline the checkout process. You’ll want to edit the HTML or text where you want the payment link to appear.

In-person 

Payment links are useful for online transactions but can also be useful for in-person payments. Whether you’re a small business owner or a solopreneur, you can accept face-to-face payments without hardware or point-of-sale systems.

For example, you can generate a QR code that the customer can scan using their smartphone. They can then proceed to make the payment using their preferred method, whether a credit card, debit card, or another available option.


Accept payments anytime, anywhere

No matter how your customers choose to settle up, track payments in one place and make managing your business finances easier than ever.

Email 

You can add payment links to your email campaigns with a call-to-action hyperlink or button to help customers easily purchase your offerings and drive conversions. For example, you may include "Complete your purchase now" to help fight shopping cart abandonment. You can also emphasize the ease of the payment process and highlight any incentives, such as discounts or limited-time offers. 

Text messages 

In addition to using payment links in emails, you can also utilize them in text messages. By sending payment links directly to a customer's cellphone via text, you can create custom in-person pricing—or charge customers for add-on services. 

Social media 

An effective way to direct customers to your online checkout page is by utilizing payment links on social media. These links provide a direct and convenient way for customers to make purchases without navigating through multiple pages.

To use payment links on social media, generate a unique URL that directs customers to your checkout page. Then, you can share the link in your social media posts, stories, or bios—or even to your social media marketing ads. Customers can click on the payment link, which will take them to the checkout page.

Chat 

Customer service chats are a convenient way to assist customers. Integrating payment links into these chat conversations can streamline the purchasing process and provide an exceptional customer experience.

You can use payment links in chat to help direct customers to specific items, but also for cross-selling and upselling. During customer service chats, you can suggest additional products or related services that may complement their initial request. Payment links for these opportunities make it easy for customers to explore and add more items to their purchases.

Pros and cons of using payment links 

Payment links offer several advantages for businesses looking to streamline payment processing, and provide a convenient customer experience:

  • Flexibility: They allow you to customize a purchase by specifying the exact amount, item details, and any additional information. This flexibility enables you to cater to the unique needs of your customers.
  • Ease of use: They are simple and user-friendly—with just a few clicks, you can create and share payment links with customers, eliminating the need for complex payment solutions or technical skills.
  • Convenience: They provide a convenient payment option for businesses without a website or those with sporadic sales. You can share them through various sales channels, including email, social media, or messaging apps. 

However, there are also a few drawbacks to consider. Here are some key cons of using payment links:

  • Limited invoice tracking: They may lack advanced invoice tracking features versus traditional payment processing methods. You may face challenges in keeping track of payment details and reconciling them with your records.
  • Lack of automation: They often require manual intervention and do not offer automated features such as recurring payments or batch invoices. This may mean additional administrative work on your part.


Accept payments and pay bills

QuickBooks has what you need to manage your money, all in one place.

How to pick a payment link provider 

When selecting a payment link provider for your business, there are several factors to consider to ensure you find the right fit. Here are some key elements to evaluate:

An illustration of how to pick a payment links provider, such as customization.
  1. Currency support: Make sure the payment link provider supports the currencies you need for international transactions. This allows you to accept payments from customers worldwide.
  2. Customization: Look for a provider that offers customization for your payment links. This will enable you to tailor the payment process to match your brand and provide a friction-free commerce experience.
  3. Functionality: Evaluate the features and functionality offered by the payment link provider. Look for options like partial payments and real-time payment notifications to enhance your customer experience.
  4. Ease of link generation: Choose a provider that makes generating payment links quick and straightforward. This will save you time and effort when creating and sharing payment links with your customers.
  5. Transaction fees: Consider the transaction fees charged by the provider. Look for a transparent fee structure that aligns with your business's budget and revenue goals.

Assessing these factors will equip you to choose a payment link provider that meets your business's payment needs.

How to create payment links with QuickBooks

Creating a payment link is typically done through a payment processor or a payment service provider. With accounting software that integrates payment functions like QuickBooks Online, you can create and manage payment links seamlessly. You can create QuickBooks payment links in just a few clicks:

An illustration of the benefits of using payment links, such as convenience and versatility.

Follow these steps to create payment links with QuickBooks:

  1. Navigate to the “Payment links” tab in your QuickBooks dashboard 
  2. Select “Create my link” if you already have a QuickBooks Payment account or “Get started” if you don’t have one
  3. Customize your payment links URL (optional) 
  4. Enter the payment amount and description 
  5. Select or add the customer name 
  6. Enter the customer’s email address 
  7. Choose how you want your customer to pay
  8. Select “Send payment link” 


It will then send your payment link to your customer’s email. You can also copy your link and QR code to share it in other ways. You can then track payment status and send reminders in your dashboard.


FYI

Your customer does not need a QuickBooks account to pay you.


Choose the best payment setup for your business

Payment links can help you streamline your payment processes and ensure you’re offering the best small business payment methods

A business bank account like QuickBooks Money allows you to accept all kinds of payments, including through payment links, and send customized invoices without the monthly subscription fee.

Move, manage, and grow your money

No matter what stage your business is in, QuickBooks can help you manage your business finances.

Solopreneur FAQ

QuickBooks Payments: QuickBooks Payments account subject to eligibility criteria, credit, and application approval. Subscription to QuickBooks Online required. Money movement services are provided by Intuit Payments Inc., licensed as a Money Transmitter by the New York State Department of Financial Services. For more information about Intuit Payments' money transmission licenses, please visit https://www.intuit.com/legal/licenses/payment-licenses/.


QuickBooks Money: QuickBooks Money is a standalone Intuit product that includes QuickBooks Payments, and currently does not connect with other QuickBooks products such as QuickBooks Online (and QuickBooks Checking), QuickBooks Self-Employed, or GoPayment. Intuit accounts are subject to eligibility criteria, credit, and application approval. Banking services provided by and QuickBooks Visa Debit Card are issued by Green Dot Bank, Member FDIC, pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc. Visa is a registered trademark of Visa International Service Association. QuickBooks Money Deposit Account Agreement applies. Banking services and debit card opening are subject to identity verification and approval by Green Dot Bank. Money movement services, including Same Day Deposit, are provided by Intuit Payments Inc., licensed as a Money Transmitter by the New York State Department of Financial Services.


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