To paylink or not to paylink? The pros and cons revealed

Businesses, increasingly concerned with the deliverability and effectiveness of their invoices, have been turning to paylinks. How do paylinks work? And are they really that effective? Read on and find out. 

 

The decline of the ‘traditional post office’ is a universal theme all over the world. If your payment collection process is primarily based on sending out traditional letters via the post, you’re probably seeing the effectiveness of your strategy declining year over year. 

 

Consumers, especially younger generations, have either adopted or have grown up with a digital-first mindset. They travel a lot, they often move from city to city in search of job opportunities and see homeownership as less of a priority when compared to their parents’ generation. 

 

Paylinks – digital payment made easy

For many people nowadays, the last thing they need is a paper envelope in the mail containing ‘important information.’ As far as they are concerned, if your message was really that important, you could have reached them in better, more immediate ways. 

 

One strategy for improving the effectiveness of invoices is to embrace the digital experience and send payment links instead. Payment links or simply paylinks for short, are personalized URLs embedded in email, SMS messages or printed in letters as scannable QR-codes. Once clicked or scanned, the links redirect the customers to a secure online environment where the payment can be made.

 

Are paylinks the ultimate solution for payment requests? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of sending out paylinks through e-mail.

 

The pros of using paylinks

 

Cost reduction

Sending out paper letters costs money, both in terms of postage and the raw materials required. By comparison, going paperless means getting similar results at only a fraction of the cost. 

 

Lower DSO

A paylink redirects the customer to a payment page for the specific invoice in question. Since all the information is pre-filled, a paylink saves the customer a lot of time. Moreover, when customers pay via paylink, businesses are instantly made aware of the payment. With digital paylinks, keeping admin up to date is a breeze.  

 

More payment methods

When a customer enters the payment page, they are presented with a wide range of payment methods. These include the local, regional and international payment methods customers know and trust. Customers may be delighted to find out that they can use a credit card or Paypal when making a payment to a local company. 

Sustainability

Sending out traditional letters isn’t very good for the environment. Most companies nowadays are aware of their ecological impact and many have even aligned themselves to some extent with the sustainable development goals put forth by the United Nations. By going digital, companies reduce their carbon footprint and contribute to a greener planet.

 

Broader strategic options

Though paylinks are often used in e-mail, it’s important to realize that paylinks come in various forms. For example, a paylink can be sent via SMS or presented to the customer when they engage with a chatbot.  Another benefit is the fact that e-mail paylinks can provide businesses with the opportunity to properly register more customers – in accordance with GDPR – by driving them towards creating an online account. 

 

Wide adoption 

Paylinks are also an opportunity when it comes to reaching older demographics. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought everybody together in the online world an accelerated the process of digital adoption. Older demographics are now also creating SaaS accounts, paying their bills online and engaging with others via video calls, emails and social media platforms. 

 

The cons of using paylinks

 

Permission

Sending out digital invoices isn’t something companies can do from one day to the next. European businesses are legally bound by GDPR. This means they need to acquire a customer’s explicit permission before sending them a paylink via e-mail or SMS. Some businesses, as part of their general business practices, may have already acquired permission from some customers, but not for others. 

 

Luckily, as previously mentioned, a major benefit of paylinks is the ability to drive customers to create online accounts. In other words, the proper implementation of paylinks accelerates customer registration and helps businesses remain GDPR compliant. 

 

Trust issues

Everybody with an e-mail inbox receives SPAM or phishing emails. Some are savvy enough to tell the difference instantly, others may not know what the signs are and how to separate legitimate emails from scams. Companies need to make sure their e-mails are consistent with their brand and tone of voice. 

 

Deliverability

Sending out thousands of transactional emails as a business is not the same as sending out marketing newsletters to customers. To ensure deliverability of transactional emails, SMTP servers and IP addresses need to be whitelisted and list maintenance needs to be carried out regularly. 

 

Open rates

Inbox fatigue is a real issue. Many people receive hundreds of emails per day. It’s totally conceivable that a message could slip through the cracks and never be seen.   

 

Paylinks – a must-have tool

When it comes to paylinks, the pros outnumber, outweigh and resolve the cons. In fact, when implemented correctly, the personalized paylink is a cost-efficient and highly effective must-have tool in a company’s payment collection arsenal. 

 

From lowering costs and improving GDPR compliance to making the payment experience quicker and more customer-friendly, it’s safe to say that the benefits of implementing paylinks within a dunning strategy are clear.

 

My advice? Align yourself with a partner who can help you navigate the legal and technological hurdles your customers face. The potential pitfalls, though notable, can easily be mitigated by working on the implementation of a paylink strategy alongside experienced professionals. 

 

At Alphacomm, we’re happy to help manage risks and provide you with the means to measure the effectiveness of your efforts. If you’d like to spar about how to improve the dunning process within large organizations, reach out to us anytime. 

 

Catalin Draghici

Product Owner Paymaxx