SMEs that are unable to accept card payments lose a combined £7.5 billion each year, according to figures from Barclaycard, following a decade in which the use of plastic has more than doubled in terms of transaction values.
Very nearly three in four of all retail transactions now take place on a credit or debit card; but 58% of SMEs, almost three fifths, are unable to accept card payments, and one in four of these say they have lost out on sales as a result.
The average lost sale is worth £182, and a typical SME loses out on a sale per week for this reason, leading to a total cost to each business of £10,884 over the course of a year.
In an attempt to combat this, Barclaycard have launched Barclaycard Anywhere, a mobile chip and PIN device that connects to a smartphone and uses a dedicated app to process transactions, with no contractual tie-ins or monthly subscription costs.
Philip McHugh, chief executive officer of Barclaycard Business Solutions, says: “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.”
The app also allows retailers to collate data about buying behaviours and purchase histories, gradually building into a customer database and business overview that can help to guide future decisions on the direction of the business.
But for many SMEs, the impact on their bottom line in terms of avoiding lost custom is likely to be the most immediate – and most welcome – benefit from a move towards accepting card payments.