SMEs ‘still sceptical’ of alternative payments providers

While a survey finds that UK small business owners are fuelling demand for alternative finance, a report from Visa Europe suggests that they are less keen on exploring providers other than the banks for payment services.

Visa Europe polled 750 UK small business owners and found that 59% trust their bank or building society as their payment provider; some way ahead of alternative providers such as online payment services (40%) telecoms companies (11%) and social media providers (6%).

Only 30% of respondents claimed to be “completely satisfied” with the range of payment options available. Satisfaction levels decrease as company turnover rises, suggesting as businesses grow they are looking for more options to offer customers.

The figure increases to 40% among sole traders and this group are most comfortable with alternative payment methods, with 56% using online banking and 32% using their debit card online to make online payments.

Despite this, only 9% of these sole traders said they accept online card payments from customers, with 36% of all small businesses using debit cards to make payments but only 22% accepting such payments in return.

“The banking and payments proposition for small business is different and has to be treated so,” said Kevin Jenkins, managing director of Visa UK. “Resources are scarcer and the time to invest in and consider these kinds of issues is typically less.

“Given the top three barriers to change are cited as perceived cost, risk, and other priorities being focused on, that suggests we need to start with making these products as accessible and useful for this audience as possible.”


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