SMEs predict alternative payments methods will dominate in 2020


According to research commissioned by Global Payments UK&I, conducted by Censuswide, SMEs anticipate that 2020 will signal a shift in the way payments are made. Pay By Bank, whereby a payment can be made directly from a customer’s bank, is a method that most SMEs (44%) think will be used for the majority of transactions. 

The study, which surveyed 500 UK SME decision-makers, also found that other alternative payment methods, such as Chinese mobile wallets like Alipay and WeChat Pay, are also predicted to rise. While only 7% of SMEs said this was one of the most used methods for transactions in 2019, they expect this figure will more than double in 2020 (16%). As a result, over a fifth (21%) of SMEs will begin accepting the likes of Alipay and WeChat Pay in 2020, with a similar rise in other mobile wallets (35%).

SMEs also predict a continued decline in cash usage. 41% report that it was one of the top payment methods used in 2019, but less than a quarter (23%) believe this will remain the case in 2020.

The shift towards accepting more digital forms of payment that can be accepted both online and in physical stores could indicate the way in which SMEs anticipate trade operating in 2020. Almost half (46%) of SMEs believe they will see more activity through online channels than through the physical store next year. This is particularly the case for the retail, catering, and leisure sectors (59%).

As SMEs anticipate a higher level of online activity next year and beyond, they will also look to payments data to improve their online presence and customer service. Of the 30% of SMEs that are planning to receive data management information from transactions in 2020, over two fifths (41%) will do so to improve their online processes, for example, by helping them to better understand cart abandonment. This is in addition to the 45% of SMEs who are already using data from payments to improve their online processes.