More than £7bn lost by UK SMEs each year from missed payment opportunities, finds Barclaycard

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Research from Barclaycard reveals SMEs are losing out on hundreds of pounds a week – £7.5bn across the country each year – by not offering customers the option of paying by debit or credit card.

Despite three quarters (74.5%) of all retail transactions across the country now being carried out in this way, three in five (58 %) SMEs are not currently able to take card payments. Of these, a quarter admit this has resulted in lost sales opportunities.

By not offering customers the option of paying by card, these SMEs lose out on around one sale per week – with each opportunity worth on average £182.  This quickly adds up, amounting to £10,884 lost revenue for each business over the course of a year.

In an increasingly cashless world, it is surprising how many SMEs are yet to offer a full array of electronic payment options, especially as a quarter (24%) say their inability to convert sales opportunities has had a significant impact upon the growth of the business.

At present, just four out of ten (42%) offer customers the option of paying by credit or debit card. Of the 58% that don’t, over a quarter (28%) choose not to because they believe this would entail significant cost, and one in 10 (11%) think it will be too complicated and wouldn’t know where to start.

Recognising these issues, Barclaycard has launched a new mobile point of sale solution, ‘Barclaycard Anywhere’, which allows businesses to take secure card payments wherever they are. Incorporating a secure card reader which attaches to a smartphone or tablet it uses a purpose-built app to accept card payments from any UK location securely, using chip and PIN technology. There are no monthly fees or contract tie-ins and will be especially appealing to start-ups, seasonal traders and mobile businesses.

Barclaycard Anywhere also has an advanced reporting system which allows users to keep track of transactions via their mobile app or a secure online portal. This gives businesses crucial information about sales performance and customer buying behaviour, all at the touch of a button.

This will be particularly useful to the six in 10 (62%) of SMEs who don’t currently track customer buying habits and are losing vital information, as well as the one in five (20%) who currently do this manually. This will have a significant impact on not only client relationships but also the overall growth of the business.

Philip McHugh, CEO of Barclaycard Business Solutions, said: “For any business, the challenge is to first secure customers’ interest and then to convert the interest into sales. However, our research has shown that many small businesses are falling at the final hurdle and losing customers and vital revenue by not accepting card payments.  This is a problem that can be cheaply and easily solved.

“Barclaycard Anywhere is a simple, low-cost portable solution which will appeal to many SMEs from mobile hairdressers and florists to taxi drivers and plumbers, enabling them to accept secure card payments on the spot, helping ensure they don’t miss out on sales.  Having quick and easy access to vital sales information such as payment trends and performance data will also enable time-strapped business owners and staff to quickly learn about their customers’ buying behaviour. The insights they gain will be invaluable in helping them become more successful.”