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How GOV.UK Pay works

This section outlines the payment flow for paying users and services using GOV.UK Pay.

Overview

  1. Your user reaches a page in your service where they need to make a payment.
  2. You make an API request to create a new payment.
  3. The API returns the URL of a payment page hosted on GOV.UK Pay, which you then redirect your user to.
  4. Your user enters their payment details on the GOV.UK Pay payment page.
  5. GOV.UK Pay verifies the payment with the underlying payment service provider (PSP).
  6. Your user confirms the payment on a page hosted by GOV.UK Pay, and is redirected back to your service.
  7. You make an API request to check whether the payment completed, and show your user an appropriate page.

1. Your user needs to make a payment

When your user reaches a page in your service where they need to make a payment, you should make clear to your user:

  • what product or service they’re paying for
  • how much they’ll pay

You should also have a clear call to action that tells your user they’re about to pay. For example, a button that says Pay now or Continue to payment.

You do not need to tell your user that they’ll be taken to GOV.UK Pay’s pages to make their payment.

2. Create a new GOV.UK Pay payment

When your user selects your payment button, you’ll make a Create new payment API call. You’ll include:

  • the payment amount
  • a return_url in your service that we’ll send your user back to when they’ve finished paying

3. Redirect your user to GOV.UK Pay payment pages

The API response will include next_url, which is the URL of a payment page hosted on GOV.UK Pay.

Redirect your user to next_url.

4. Your user enters their payment details

When your service redirects your user to next_url, they’ll see an Enter card details page where they can enter their:

  • card number
  • card expiry date
  • name from their card
  • card security code
  • billing address
  • email address

This page also shows the description and the amount your user has to pay, making it clear what they’re paying for.

Your user enters their payment details and selects Continue. You can also prefill some of the fields.

5. GOV.UK Pay checks the payment is authorised

GOV.UK Pay contacts your PSP to authorise the payment. Your PSP will check with the payment card issuer, for example Visa, that:

  • your user’s details are valid
  • your user has enough money in their account to make this payment
  • the payment is not fraudulent

6. Your user confirms payment

If the details are valid and the payment is approved by the PSP, your user is then taken to a Confirm your payment page, still hosted by GOV.UK Pay.

The payment confirmation page shows what your user entered for their:

  • card number - last 4 digits only
  • card expiry date
  • name from their card
  • billing address
  • email address

This page also shows the description and the amount your user has to pay.

If your user decides to complete the payment, they select Confirm payment. They will then:

  • receive a confirmation email, if you’ve chosen to send these using GOV.UK Pay
  • be redirected to the return_url you sent us in step 2

Your PSP will then take (‘capture’) the payment from your user’s bank account.

If your user decides not to complete the payment or the payment fails, your user will see a GOV.UK Pay error page, which includes a Continue button. When your user selects this, they’ll be redirected to your return_url.

If your user does not complete their payment within 90 minutes, it will expire. GOV.UK Pay will send a cancellation to the payment provider and the status of the payment will be P0020.

7. Show a final page

When your user is redirected to your return_url, you should:

If the payment is not finished, you may be able to resume the payment.

If the payment is finished, you should use your service to show either a:

  • confirmation page
  • failure page

Show a confirmation page

If your user’s payment succeeded, the confirmation page is hosted by your service and should:

  • confirm that payments have been received successfully
  • contain a reference number, which should be short
  • have a clear payment summary, showing the amount and description
  • clearly state what is going to happen next - this will be different for each service
  • if applicable, let your user know they will receive a receipt email (using GOV.UK Notify or GOV.UK Pay) account for all the ways your user may record this transaction - including screenshots, printing, PDF download and writing a note

You can read more how to design a confirmation page in the GOV.UK Design System.

Show a failure page

If your user’s payment failed - for example because they cancelled or their payment was declined - your service should show them a page that confirms that the payment failed. This should either:

  • let your user try again by starting a new payment with GOV.UK Pay, or using another method like a phone call
  • tell your user what to do next

For example:

If you do not use your own payment failure pages, you can configure GOV.UK Pay to display standard GOV.UK Pay payment failure pages.