SMEs lose £7.5bn a year by not accepting credit or debit cards

Sarah Spickernell
Follow Sarah
Most SMEs don't accept card payment (Source: Reuters)

The majority of the UK's small and medium enterprises do not allow customers to pay with credit or debit card, which is resulting in significant revenue losses, according to a report by Barclaycard.

While just 42% of SMEs accept card, almost three quarters of all retail transactions in the UK are now carried out using card, the findings show.

This is causing losses of hundreds of pounds each week, amounting to £7.5bn each year, and a quarter of those not offering card payment have admitted lost opportunities on account of their inability to accept card.

The cash complication is not limited to the UK, either: a study by Tufts in 2013 estimated that in the US, cash costs the economy $200bn each year. They also found that consumers spend an average of 28 minutes each month just traveling somewhere to obtain cash, such as ATMs.

Why aren't they accepting card?

According to the report, two of the main reasons why SMEs steer clear of card payments are the perceived cost, which they believe would be significant, and the fact that they believe it will be too complicated to set up.

“For any business, the challenge is to first secure customers' interest and then to convert the interest into sales,” says Philip McHugh, CEO of Barclaycard Business Solutions.

“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.”

Related articles