Nick Corrigan, Managing Director UK&I, Global Payments SMEs, predicts alternative payments methods will dominate in 2020.

As 2020 approaches, it is great to see that SMEs are planning to embrace newer mobile wallets and alternative payments as consumer spending habits change.

Fundamentally, merchants in all sectors need to be able to provide the payment options that their customers want to use – particularly as we see a continued shift to e-commerce, and the methods available to customers increase.

It is important that throughout 2020 and beyond, SMEs have the right payments partner to help them not only accept different payments methods, but also provide guidance and insights on the ever changing payments landscape along the way too.

Research findings

Research commissioned by Global Payments UK&I finds that SMEs forecast 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.

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Other findings include:

· Over a fifth (21%) of SMEs will begin accepting the likes of Alipay and WeChat Pay in 2020, with mobile wallets also increasing (35%).

· SMEs 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%).

Payments data as tools

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.