Concerns around international Payments are the leading barrier stopping UK small and medium medium enterprises (SMEs) from exporting overseas. That is according to new research conducted by CurrencyCloud.

The research surveyed 500 decision makers at UK SMEs and found that 28% of businesses not already exporting overseas have plans to do so in the future. However, concerns around international payments are preventing them from taking the plunge. 

Many businesses surveyed find starting to trade internationally daunting, citing worries about finding overseas customers (31%) to concerns about tariffs and other charges (29%) when explaining why they hadn’t yet exported. 34% of businesses currently not exporting said that they choose not to do so due to worries about the complexity of making and receiving international payments. This made payments the third most commonly cited answer. 

51% are concerned about being exposed to currency fluctuations and foreign exchange risk

Additionally, 49% of businesses are concerned about payments security and 45% are worried about the speed of payments. Another 43% cited the cost of making and receiving payments as being a key barrier.

With 49% of small business not yet exporting, there’s potentially considerable revenue to be unlocked for providers who can alleviate their concerns and help them overcome perceived payments barriers. 

High street banks may be in a prime position to do exactly this. Almost 46% of those SMEs already exporting surveyed use their high street bank or building society to send and receive payments, and 34% of all respondents have tried to access support with exporting from their banks. This was second only to the government / Department for Business & Trade. 

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Currencycloud’s Head of Product, Piers Marais, commented: “These figures show that international payments are a key concern for businesses looking to export overseas. However, it’s also clear that there’s growing appetite to export and that banks are in a key position to support SMEs. So, we need to move away from the standard ‘banks vs fintechs’ rhetoric and focus more on how the industry can collaborate. It’s also clear that if the Government wants to boost Britain’s global business ambitions, it needs to take concerns around red tape, customs, and tariffs seriously.”