PayPal, the online payments service, has apologised to customers of a Scottish coffee shop with a taste for Cuban roast after reporting them to the US authorities and accusing them of violating the long-standing trade embargo / Getty

Site is offering users the chance to get their unique IDs before somebody else does

PayPal has launched a new peer-to-peer payment service, letting people send or collect money with just a link.

The service is intended to help friends and family send money more easily, in a way that is more akin to instant messaging than bank transfers. Users give people their ID — which can be sent as a link — which can then be clicked on and used as a depository for money.

PayPal said research had shown that people in the UK owe billions of pounds through casual borrowing from friends, family or colleagues. But people tended to give up on those debts, rather than pursuing them, according to the research.

The site said that it hopes that people will be able to recover those debts more easily, by making sure that people don’t have to rely on cash, or the often complicated process of sending money through banks.

Users can head to to sign up and register usernames, or join PayPal itself. New usernames can be signed up for specific uses, like a central way of putting money together for a holiday which will have its own link.

There will be no fees for people paying other individuals through the service if they use debit cards, and a small fee for credit cards. Companies can use it too, but will then be charged.