Over a quarter, (27%) of British SMEs have reported that all payments made to their business are already contactless as the UK adjusts to the rapid increase in e-commerce and online transactions, accelerated by the pandemic.
The latest data from Tyl by NatWest in partnership with YouGov revealed that British SMEs have been quick to adapt the way they do business and their payment systems in response to Covid-19. With 65% of businesses registering for Tyl’s services since the start of UK lockdown adopting card payments for the first time, compared to 37% before, and the pace of this change is only expected to increase.
More than a third (36%)* of SME decision makers agree that being able to accept contactless payments will allow them to operate more successfully after the pandemic. This is likely due to the need to adapt to evolving customer demand for contactless payment options, taking online payment, safety in handling cash and speedier transfer of funds.
Mike Elliff, CEO, Tyl said: “This latest research clearly demonstrates the role that contactless, mobile and remote payment systems will play in facilitating the economic recovery from Covid-19. There’s now a huge consumer demand for contactless payment methods, which is driving small businesses to switch their operating models at considerable speed in order to achieve success. We hope that by highlighting these challenges we can equip businesses throughout the UK to capitalise on the demand for contactless payment opportunities.”
The survey examined the role of contactless, mobile and remote payments in aiding the economic recovery from Covid-19.
31%* of SMEs agreed that their business will lose revenue as a direct consequence if they were not to offer contactless payments due to the pandemic, likely due to consumer concerns around the safety of cash and the shift towards online and mobile payments.
With social distancing also reducing capacity in shops, bars, cafes and restaurants, small businesses can no longer restrict payments to the cash desk. Tyl’s portable terminals grants cashiers the freedom to take payments across the entire venue.
Satnam Singh Purewal, owner of Red Lion Bar and Grill and Tyl customer said: “Tyl by NatWest is user friendly and looks great. Our customers expect top customer service and Tyl helps us manage this through simple things like quick card payments to reduce waiting times in the bar. The Portal allows me to track customer trends and I’ve assigned different machines to the bar and the kitchen so I can monitor performance for each area of the business easily.”
Finally, the survey suggests that decisions to adopt cashfree payment systems extend beyond a desire to meet consumer demand and retain revenue streams. SME businesses are concerned about the personal health and wellbeing of their employees with almost a quarter (23%)* stating that they do not feel comfortable with their employees or themselves handling cash during the pandemic.
Support for all payment methods
Whilst the consumer and business trend towards contactless and card payments continues, NatWest continues to support its personal and business customers with cash requirements, as supporters of UK Finance’s Access to Cash Initiative. The bank has become the first in the UK to offer fee-free secure cash home delivery to vulnerable customers, as well as keeping over 95% of the branch network open throughout the pandemic, and backing ATM operator LINK’s 12-month pledge to maintain free-to-use ATMs.