B2B Payments

Mastercard: 73 Pct Of SMBs Say Digital Payments Are 'New Normal'

A new Mastercard study of small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) finds that the pandemic has influenced over half of respondents to switch to digital B2B services, according to a press release.

The survey found that 38 percent, or more than one-third, have experienced cash flow issues due to the pandemic, including late payments and slow processing times with cash and checks.

Traditional physical payments had their issues prior to the pandemic, but COVID-19 sped up and magnified the problems through the lockdowns and social distancing requirements that have been popping up all year.

Now, the release stated, around 48 percent of SMB owners surveyed are only one missed payment or so away from going out of business.

But they're getting inventive. Nearly two-thirds of them, or around 64 percent, said they've begun converting away from paper checks and cash payments. The survey said 51 percent are using digital methods, and 60 percent are using online card payments.

The needs of businesses are predominantly speed and security, with 91 percent of respondents saying those are important factors. And 87 percent said transparency is an important factor.

The survey found that the positive reaction to digital payments had convinced many SMBs to stick with those methods in the future, even as the pandemic eventually ends. Seventy percent of respondents said they're ready to invest in new technology to expand digital payments, while 73 percent said digital payments are "the new normal" for them going forward.

Ron Shultz, executive vice president, New Payments Business, North America at Mastercard, said in the release that the pandemic "made it painfully clear how labor intensive current business payment processes are, especially for small and medium-sized businesses."

"With cash flow more critical than ever, we’re seeing an accelerated shift to digital B2B payments as businesses of all sizes look to safeguard their operations today and prepare for the future," he said, according to the release.

PYMNTS reported on the shift to digital, writing of the surprising durability of the paper check as a staple of the B2B process. But the pandemic has made digitization a priority.

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