Cash a thing of the past for 62 per cent of UK SMEs

Mounting SME concern on opaque pricing and hidden charges

The AA launches into the card payments market today to deliver a better deal to the 61 per cent of SMEs that are reliant on card terminals but experience problems, and the 26 per cent that have difficulty managing payments with cash.

The AA’s move comes at a time when the majority of SMEs (62 per cent) say that cash no longer features as a percentage of their total sales, with 17 per cent saying it now represents less than 10 per cent of their predicted sales for the next six months. The growing disconnection with cash is reinforced by a new consumer poll for the AA which reveals that a staggering 83 per cent of consumers are unable to recall which famous person is featured on the back of a £20 note.

Nationally, the AA will help small business owners to secure a better deal at a time when few SMEs can operate without a card payment terminal but frequently question the service they get. 

New nationwide YouGov research* reveals that whilst 28 per cent of small businesses accept point of sale payments, many SMEs experience a range of frustrations with their card terminals:

  • 25 per cent of UK small businesses say that set up costs are too high, rising to 42 per cent in the hospitality and leisure sector, and 29 per cent in the retail sector. Hidden costs in these sectors were also an issue for one in four SMEs in the retail sector (24 per cent) and hospitality and leisure sector (26 per cent). This was particularly an issue for businesses that were scaling back over the next three months (31 per cent). 
  • One in five SMEs (20 per cent) mentioned poor Internet connection impeding their ability to take more card payments at peak business times. This comes at a time when the Government is planning to launch a £400 million fund to attract investment in full fibre broadband to boost the UK’s digital infrastructure. 
  • A third of respondents in the hospitality and leisure sector (29 per cent) complained about the perceived unreliability of their payment terminals and poor levels of support from engineers (7 per cent). Similarly, 31 per cent of the retail sector were affected by their card machines malfunctioning in the past 12 months. 

The AA has partnered with EVO Payments International, a leading card payment acquirer and payment service provider operating throughout North America and Europe. The shared goal is to offer UK businesses a better deal based on transparent pricing, value for money, and excellent customer service. The UK launch follows EVO’s success in Ireland where in two years it has become the fastest growing business payments provider.

David Searle, Director of AA Financial Services commented: “With around one in five AA members running a small business, we have for some time been looking at what we can do to help, particularly given the current economic climate. The launch of Card Pay from the AA is the logical first step for small businesses that operate in an increasingly cashless society and are looking for ways to keep running costs under control.”

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