Here are the week’s main news stories in the world of small business and digital payments:
Digital payments market forecast to more than double in next five years
The global digital payments market is expected to reach $7,640 billion by 2024 after recording a CAGR of 13.7 per cent between 2019 and 2024, according to Industry Research. It was valued at $3,417.39 billion in 2018. The market is expected to flourish, due to “the robust proliferation of the internet” thanks to increasing investments by internet service providers and the fact the global economy is becoming increasingly digitalised. Uptake will also be aided by more stringent regulations, such as the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
German SMEs benefit from cashless payments
More than half (53 per cent) of SME retailers, restaurateurs and hotel operators in Germany have seen a positive effect on sales from cashless payments. Of the businesses surveyed on behalf of digital payment provider Concardis, 43 per cent reported an increase in bill size and shopping basket amounts when cashless payments were used. Digital payments also saved time, with three-quarters of SMEs spending less than 20 minutes a day processing digital payment, compared to 29 minutes for cash payments. In addition, 52 per cent of SMEs said contactless payments take less time than cash payments.
Conservative leadership contenders warned on risks of no-deal Brexit
Conservative Party leadership hopefuls have been warned that a no-deal Brexit would cause “severe” damage to British business. Confederation of British Industry (CBI) director-general Carolyn Fairbairn urged the next prime minister to reach an agreement with Brussels, warning that the “vast majority of firms can never be prepared for no deal”. She said the next prime minister needed to listen to “clear, detailed evidence” from businesses when deciding on their Brexit approach. In an open letter to the participants in the Conservative Party leadership race, Fairbairn said: “The next prime minister can only claim the Conservatives are the party of business if they secure a Brexit deal that protects the economy, jobs and living standards.”
PayPal working capital scheme passes $10 billion milestone
Since first providing small business owners with access to capital in 2013, PayPal’s Working Capital scheme has provided more than $10 billion in funding through more than 650,000 loans to more than 225,000 small businesses around the world. The financing programme is available in the US, UK, Australia, Germany and Mexico and provides funding from $1,000 to $500,000, with small businesses able to start using the funds almost immediately.
PayPal has also announced a new ecommerce platform for small businesses. In addition to payment services, this allows small businesses access to PayPal's backend systems and services like fraud protection, compliance and authenticating an account.
Poor leadership impacting small business
A lack of strong leadership, primarily caused by a ‘soft skills gap’, is preventing SMEs from tackling the numerous challenges they face, according to research by Hitachi Capital Finance. A third of business leaders cite soft skills, including emotional intelligence, communication and collaboration, as the most crucial requirement for leadership roles. They have become particularly important as the Brexit uncertainty, and ongoing digitalisation becomes an increasing challenge. The same research has found the number of firms predicting growth has fallen to 34 per cent, a two-year low.
Minimum wage review must consider rising costs
Ahead of the government-commissioned review of minimum wage rates, the national chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) Mike Cherry, warned that wage increases are causing small businesses, to “cut profitability, hold back investment and put up prices to absorb them”. Cherry highlighted that over 90 per cent of small businesses “have maintained pay levels or increased them over the past year” and tend to be “ahead of the curve” on pay, with six out of 10 paying all employees at least the National Living Wage rate for last year prior to April. “For firms in the retail, hospitality and care sectors in particular, these burdens are threatening futures,” Cherry added.