SMEs losing customers over failure to accept electronic payments, study suggests

A new study suggests that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that do not accept electronic payments are missing out on more than £1bn in potential sales.

The news comes after research from Barclaycard found that around two thirds (65 per cent) of SME retailers have lost customers as a result of their reluctance to offer modern electronic payment methods such as contactless and online payment.

A further one in four (24 per cent) of SMEs quizzed added that they had lost customers due to a lack of emerging, next-generation payment options such as online ‘one-click’ ordering and digital personal assistants – both of which are now used by almost half (46 per cent) of 18-34 year-olds on a regular basis, the study found.

Despite SMEs’ reluctance to branch out and embrace new payment technologies, 61 per cent of small business respondents told the survey that they expect cash will ‘become redundant’ within the next few years.

38 per cent said that they had plans to introduce new payment options in the near future – while 11 per cent added that a loss of customers had directly inspired them to take this step.

Greg Liset, of Barclaycard, said: “While it’s encouraging that many smaller retailers are becoming aware of the importance of these emerging methods, they need to turn this ambition into action to steal a march on the competition and keep up with consumers both now and in the future.”