Payment links: Is it safe, how it works, and how to use?

Shermaine Tan10 minutes
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Payment links: Is it safe, how it works, and how to use?
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Today's consumers demand convenience, speed, and flexibility in their shopping experiences, expecting to be able to purchase anytime, anywhere. Technological advancements and the ubiquity of smartphones have made it possible to create seamless shopping experiences across multiple online platforms and alternative sales channels, including social media, messaging apps, and digital marketplaces, allowing consumers to make purchases with just a few taps on their devices.

This transformation of the retail landscape marks a significant shift in the way businesses reach and engage with their customers. The evolution highlights the necessary need for flexible and secure payment options, with payment links standing out as a key solution. But are they safe? How do they work, and what are the best practices for their use?

What is a payment link?

A payment link is essentially a direct payment URL that merchants can generate and send to their customers through various channels such as email, SMS, messaging apps like WhatsApp and Telegram, or social media. This link redirects the customer to a secure payment page where they can complete their purchase. For instance, consider payment link providers like Airwallex, Stripe, and HitPay.

Airwallex's payment link offers global businesses a versatile solution to collect payments through cards and over 30 other methods globally, in any currency. It also provides a comprehensive payment gateway solution for businesses who run their own eCommerce store. Beyond merely offering payment links and payment gateway, Airwallex integrates a suite of financial tools, encompassing foreign exchange, corporate cards, cross-border payments, and expense management, making it an all-in-one financial solution for businesses.

Why should you use a payment link?

The appeal of payment links lies in their simplicity and efficiency. For merchants, they offer a swift means of collecting payments without the need for building a fully-fledged eCommerce site or Shopify store. For customers, they present a convenient and accessible way to make secure payments online.

Any business looking to streamline its payment process and expand its market reach stands to benefit from incorporating payment links. Payment links simplify the payment process, leading to new customer acquisition and higher sales conversions by reducing transaction steps and lowering purchase friction.

For service businesses like lawyers, consultancy firms, and event organisers, payment links facilitate collecting deposits or advance payments, streamlining the billing process and securing revenue ahead of time. They are also vital for international commerce, allowing businesses to easily collect payments in preferred currencies without localised websites or payment gateways.

For instance, Wine Kin, a Singapore-based online retailer, faced a challenge with the varied payment preferences of customers across Southeast Asia. Traditional customers were hesitant about eCommerce, preferring to use bank transfers or sometimes sharing credit card details over the phone, risking security. Airwallex's payment links provided Wine Kin with an effective solution, enabling easy and secure global payment collection through embedding links in invoices or sharing them via WhatsApp. This not only enhanced their customer experience, but also minimised the need for invoice follow-ups thanks to instant notifications and real-time tracking, demonstrating a truly seamless global payment solution for businesses.

Additionally, for sales through social media, payment links enable direct purchases, enhancing the attractiveness of impulse buys and limited-time offers. This method especially benefits small businesses by eliminating the need for a traditional online storefront.

One thing to note, a payment link directs a customer to a payment page without the necessity of a website, while a payment gateway is integrated into the website's checkout process, offering a seamless payment experience within the site. Each serves distinct business needs with the payment link offering unparalleled flexibility for varying transaction contexts.

Payment links offer a convenient method for businesses to accept payments, eliminating the need for complex eCommerce setups. Platforms like Airwallex enable businesses to create a secure, direct pathway for transactions. Customers can easily make payments by clicking on a link sent via email, SMS, or social media, and entering their payment details on a secure page.

To create a payment link on Airwallex:,

  1. Head to "Payment Links" on your web app and click "New payment link". 

  2. Input transaction details such as amount, currency, and a description of the goods or services. You can also utilise customization options like adding a business logo or a personal message to enhance brand recognition and customer trust.

  3. Airwallex will then generate a unique and secure URL. Copy and share this link with your customers through your choice of channel including email, SMS, messaging app, social media, or even by downloading the QR code.

Airwallex payment method fees explained

Airwallex charges a per-transaction fee on each payment transaction. The fee structure is specific to each payment method, with charges for card payments depending on whether the card is issued domestically or internationally.

How to create a payment link?

Creating, sharing, and using payment links is a streamlined process that can be broken down into the following steps:

  1. Choose a payment link provider: The first step is to select a reputable payment link provider. Evaluate different providers based on their security measures, ease of use, cost, and customer support.

  2. Set up an account: Once you've chosen a provider, set up your merchant account by completing the required registration process. This typically involves providing your business details, bank account information, and completing a KYB process to verify that your business is legitimate.

  3. Generate the payment link: Within your merchant dashboard, select the option to create a new payment link. Enter the transaction details, including the amount and description of the goods or services being paid for. Once complete, the system will generate a unique payment link.

  4. Share the payment link: Share the generated payment link with your customer via email, SMS, or through social media platforms, depending on your customer's preference and your business model. 

  5. Customer makes payment: Once the customer makes the payment, both you and the customer should receive a confirmation notification. Verify the transaction on your end through your payment link provider's dashboard to ensure everything matches the agreed-upon amount and details.

To effectively utilise payment links and maximise their impact, consider the following best practices:

  • Optimise for mobile use: Ensure that your payment pages are fully optimised for mobile devices. A significant proportion of online transactions are conducted on smartphones and tablets, so a mobile-friendly design is crucial for maximising conversion rates.

  • Monitor and analyse transactions: Use analytics tools provided by your payment link provider to track conversion rates, abandoned transactions, and customer feedback, enabling you to make informed adjustments.

  • Enhance security measures: Implement additional security protocols like two-factor authentication (2FA) and SSL encryption for your payment pages to protect sensitive customer information.

By adhering to these best practices, businesses can enhance the efficiency, security, and user experience of using payment links, leading to increased customer satisfaction and higher conversion rates.

Airwallex's payment links emerge as a top selection for businesses looking to enhance their online payment methods. With its innovative approach, Airwallex offers:

  • Multi-currency support: Airwallex's payment links provide businesses the flexibility to accept payments from anywhere in the world, in any currency, with 30+ payment methods. This capability not only simplifies the transaction for customers worldwide but also positions businesses to tap into international markets with ease.

  • Eliminate unnecessary FX conversion fees: Directly collect and hold international customer payments in your Airwallex multi-currency account and pay your global suppliers in 10+ currencies to avoid forced conversion.

  • Transparent pricing: Unlike many other payment solutions, Airwallex prides itself on its transparent pricing model. There are no hidden fees, and businesses benefit from knowing precisely what each transaction will cost them.

  • Optimise your end-to-end cash management: Automatically generate payment links through platforms like Xero and Netsuite, incorporate these links into your invoices seamlessly to streamline the reconciliation process.

  • Seamless integration with other financial services: Airwallex's payment links are designed to work in harmony with their extensive suite of financial services. This integration capability enables businesses to streamline their operations within the Airwallex ecosystem, covering foreign exchange, corporate cards, cross-border payments, and expense management, without the need of managing multiple platforms.

  • Set up in minutes: Use Airwallex's no-code, plug-and-play payment link integrations with platforms such as Shopify, Magento, and WooCommerce. This allows businesses, even those without developers on their team, to effortlessly integrate payment links within their existing online store.

In conclusion, the utilisation of payment links markedly boosts the efficiency, security, and overall customer experience. For modern businesses looking to streamline their online transaction procedures, this strategy is essential. Take Singapore SME Dreamcore as an example, the custom PC company leverages Airwallex’s payment links and gateway to receive customer payments directly into their Airwallex Global Account. They are then able to pay their global suppliers efficiently while avoiding forced currency conversions, saving up to 5% in their costs.

Airwallex stands out by providing multi-currency support, transparent pricing, and seamless integration with a comprehensive range of financial services. These enhancements simplify the payment process and unlock global market opportunities for businesses. Discover how Airwallex can transform your payment operations and fuel your business's growth by signing up today.

Frequently asked questions

  1. What is the difference between a payment link, a checkout button and an invoice?

A payment link is a unique URL that directs a customer to a payment page where they can complete a transaction. It's a flexible option that can be shared via email, messaging apps, or even social media, ideal for businesses without a traditional eCommerce platform.

A checkout button, on the other hand, is embedded directly within a merchant's website or app, facilitating an immediate and streamlined payment process as part of the online shopping experience.

Lastly, an invoice is a detailed document issued by the seller to the buyer, listing the products or services provided along with quantities, prices, terms, and payment details. Invoices often facilitate payment through direct bank transfers or cheque payments. Using Airwallex, businesses can directly embed payment links into their invoices via Xero and Quickbooks, automating reconciliation when they’re being paid.

Each of these payment facilitators serves distinct operational needs, offering businesses flexibility in how they manage transactions with their customers.

2. Why would I need a payment link when I have a website or app?

Even with a fully functional website or app, payment links offer unparalleled flexibility for transactions outside the standard eCommerce flow, providing a secure and straightforward method for collecting payments on platforms like email, messaging apps, and social media, without the need for the customer to physically navigate the business's website or app.

3. Can I customise my payment links?

Absolutely. Customization of payment links is not only possible but encouraged to align with your business branding and provide a seamless payment experience for your customers. Most payment link providers, such as Airwallex, offer a range of customizable options that enable businesses to tailor the appearance and functionality of their payment requests. This customization can include adding your business logo, choosing specific colours to match your brand identity, and even incorporating tailored messages or instructions to guide the customer through the payment process.

4. Do payment links support multiple payment methods?

Yes, one of the most significant advantages of utilising payment links is their compatibility with a wide range of payment methods. This includes traditional methods such as credit and debit cards, bank transfers, and newer digital forms like mobile wallets.

***Note: This publication does not constitute legal, tax, or professional advice from Airwallex nor substitute seeking such advice, and makes no express or implied representations/warranties/guarantees regarding content accuracy, completeness, or currency.

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Shermaine Tan
Manager, Growth Marketing

Shermaine leads the development and execution of content for businesses in Singapore and the SEA region.

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