The big headline of the year may have centered on EMV – and its adoption, or lack thereof – in the United States by businesses large and small. Better late than never, as the saying goes. But there’s an overarching theme here, and one that transcends that sole payments security tranche.
The PYMNTS.com Small Business Technology Adoption Index closed the year with mixed results, at least measured in terms of SMB embrace of technology, or reticence to do so.
The fourth quarter results, as measured by sentiment across 700 businesses, gave a snapshot that could be measured with one word: resistance. Resistance to new technologies, and resistance to changing the way payments are made and taken.
Anemic Tech Adoption And Real Room For Growth
The pace of tech adoption in the United States has been, and may continue to be, ruled by one word: caution. As the joint effort between Sage and PYMNTS found, 61 percent of SMBS don’t believe they have an “issue” with their existing systems of payments. And only 42 percent of those surveyed worry “a lot” about security as applied to their payments systems. That speaks to other data that showed only 10 percent of businesses see themselves as having extensive adoption of up-to-date payments technology.
A Catalyst In The Wings
And yet there’s an imperative that looms to bring payments technology at least up to speed in the United States. The fact remains that as of the fourth quarter survey, a paltry 28 percent of companies surveyed had been fully prepared to make the leap to EMV. That may be a catalyst in the works as 64 percent of companies said they had no plans to work within the EMV framework – could it be that somewhat cavalier attitude looms as an eventual push toward payments tech embrace in the event those companies are caught asleep at the switch and then must contend with fraud (and liability)? That’s a likelihood, in the face that 47 percent of worldwide credit card fraud comes from the United States.
Mobile Everywhere — Someday
The inexorable movement toward mobile also dominated the tech landscape in 2015, with Apple Pay and Samsung Pay and any number of other payment platforms coming to bear in payments tech. With only low single digit acceptance of such payment schemes among the smaller tiers of the SMBS as measured by revenues, there is room for growth, of course. But the road may be a steep and long one. Startling data show that paper checks still dominate, at 92 percent of payments acceptance among respondents – and even way down on the totem pole is the somewhat archaic form of payments via debit cards at 54 percent.
Terminals — Ripe for Updates
Finding the preferred method of hardware used in payments acceptance, 51 percent showed preference of traditional terminals, which may be at least in part be updated as roughly a quarter of SMBS – on an upward slope tied to increasing revenues – look to adopt cloud-based solutions. The growth in the cloud means also that mPOS and extended reach of flexible technology at the point of sale (read: Several locations within the same establishment) will become a trend in 2016 and beyond.