B2B Payments

SMBs and the Great (Digital Banking Divide)

Banks may wish to move toward bits and bytes with haste, if the mindsets of SMBs owners are any indication.

In a survey conducted by Bill.com, with an eye on the preferences of 500 small business owners across the United States, the company found that small businesses are connected to their banks, but that connection could hardly be termed rock solid.

The stats show that less than half, or 48 percent, of these SMB-owning respondents felt “committed” to their current banking relationship and would not switch to a “non-traditional” online service. That implies the door is open for at least some mulling of a switch to such a platform by more than half of respondents, given that a significant number of those surveyed, at 43 percent, said they were “unsure” if banks do indeed meet their expectations with current offerings.

Other statistics bear out the thought that millennials are open to technology as part of their financial lives.  In fact, there seems to be a bit of a “tech divide” dictated by age. The same statistic, at about 48 percent, of millennial SMB owners would look toward banking across mobile channels for their transactions. Yet only 18 percent of SMB owners who are between the ages of 45 and 59 would bank digitally. All told, only 32 percent of SMB owners prefer in-person, branch-based visits.

What does this say about the relationship between SMBs and their banking relationships? In an interview with PYMNTS, Katherine Foley, director of marketing for Bill.com’s bank channel, stated, “More than anything, the data shows that small business owners are uncertain when it comes to the future of their relationship with their bank. They are accustomed to having consumer technologies at their fingertips to pay friends and family … The services they receive are too often designed for consumers, or for much larger companies, resulting in a gap between their high level of need relative to their relatively lower level of usage.”

And looking out at the general landscape, politically, Trump may be as divisive among SMB owners as he may be generally in the United States. A little less than half, 46 percent, think that their businesses will “thrive” through the Trump years.

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Our data and analytics team has developed a number of creative methodologies and frameworks that measure and benchmark the innovation that’s reshaping the payments and commerce ecosystem. The July 2019 Pay Advances: The Gig Economy’s New Normal, a PYMNTS and Mastercard collaboration, examines pay advances – full or partial payments received before an ad hoc job is completed – including how gig workers currently use them and their potential for future adoption.

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