Payment links are direct payments, whereas escrows will hold the payment until specific conditions are met
Payment links are generated by sellers to accept direct payments from buyers. The funds are pushed directly to the seller and when the seller receives the funds depends on the payment method used.
This does not involve the use of a separate account to hold the funds.
Meanwhile, escrow transactions are paid into and held in an escrow account. The seller has to fulfil their obligations in the escrow agreement before the funds in escrow are released to them. When the seller receives the funds also depends on the payment method used.
We cover some more feature differences and best use cases for payment links vs escrow in our blog.