Canadian SMEs want more digital payment options

By Payments Canada,

Small businesses in Canada are ready for more payment options, according to a new Payments Canada survey. Businesses want more choice for their customers at point-of-sale and more options for their back-office payments to suppliers and vendors, such as e-transfers, e-wallets and digital currencies.

Most importantly, small businesses want their payments to be safe and secure.

“Given the growing demand for fast, safe and convenient digital payment formats, coupled with the business need to maximize margins, it’s no wonder small business owners are open to more payment innovations,” says Gerry Gaetz, President and CEO of Payments Canada. “There appears to be a higher demand for faster alternative methods as most business owners are willing to move away from cash and cheques – that is, once they have other options.”

Key findings from the Payments Pulse: Small Business Survey Edition include:
• 81% of those surveyed are willing to integrate new technologies into their operations
o Newer businesses are even keener, rising to 88% for those in operation 10 years or less
• 61% would be willing to move away from cash, if they had other options
• 67% would be willing to move away from cheques, if they had other options
• 54% of businesses believe they are spending too much time on payment processing activities
• 87% of small business owners think it is important that the payments industry continues to evolve

“Small firms are indeed looking for new, faster ways of payment,” said Dan Kelly, President of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, an advocacy group for 110,000 Canadian independent businesses. “Many firms are particularly interested in new ways to make business-to-business payments where larger sums of money can be transferred quickly without hold times or high transaction costs.”

The introduction of new systems, rules and standards as part of Payments Canada’s Modernization program will foster a faster, safer and more data-rich payments environment. The primary efficiency enhancement for businesses is anticipated to come from new real-time payments, giving small businesses more choice in how they make their payments, and the adoption of the ISO 20022 data standard, a change that has the potential to improve automation and efficiency, reducing many of the pain points in accounts payable and receivable. Enhancements to the core payment systems are also anticipated to enable new and exciting ways for Canadian households and businesses to pay for goods and services and transfer funds.

“While our Canadian payments system is recognized as one of the most secure in the world, evolving based on marketplace demand is essential to economic competitiveness,” adds Gaetz. “We know the operational efficiencies from modernizing the payments system will be significant – businesses will be able to chip away at the $3 to $6.5 billion they spend on payments each year. Add to that the emergence of new and innovative products and services, and there is much for businesses to look forward to.”

The Payments Pulse: Small Business Edition was undertaken by Leger Marketing and Payments Canada between December 29, 2017 and January 10, 2018. An online survey of 303 Canadian small business owners of companies with less than 499 employees was completed using Leger’s online panel, LegerWeb. The margin of error for this study was +/- 5.6%, 19 times out of 20.