Here are the week’s main news stories in the world of small business and digital payments:
Global digital payments market will more than double by 2024 – report
The global digital payments market is expected to reach $7,640 billion by 2024, recording a CAGR of 13.7 per cent between 2019 and 2024, according to a report compiled by Industry Research. The market was valued at $3,417 billion in 2018. The ‘Digital Payments Market report 2019-2024’ expects the digital payments market to flourish due to the continued spread of the internet. It also notes that security is “of paramount importance” in the context of so many transactions taking place via smartphones, adding that the chances of a security breach exist, especially when most of the mobile wallets and banking applications do not deploy hardware-level security to make online transactions more secure.
Call for public inquiry into RBS business unit linked to small-business failures
A member of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Fair Business Banking has called for a public inquiry into a disgraced unit of Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), and said the issue of its Global Restructuring Group (GRG) will not finally be settled until there is one. Michelle Thomson, a former SNP MP, was speaking after a court was told that the government’s influence over the controversial business turnaround unit in the years following the financial crisis was “pervasive”. The GRG has faced multiple allegations that it drove small businesses into the ground in what has been described as a “dash for cash”, as RBS tried to improve its balance sheet following a government bailout of more than £45 billion.
Crime costing small businesses £17 billion every year
Small businesses are incurring mammoth costs of almost £17 billion every year due to criminal activity, according to the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB). Reacting to these startling statistics, FSB national chairman Mike Cherry said they show “the immense pressure that all small firms are facing on a daily basis”. “At a time of huge uncertainty and increasing costs, business crime is a serious issue that is devastating firms up and down the country,” he added. The actual cost to small businesses is estimated to be higher than £17 billion, due to indirect costs such as store closures and staff absences. Traditional crime, including robbery, fraud and criminal damage, affects around 900,000 small businesses each year, according to the FSB.
Indian merchants no longer charged digital payment fees
Indian retailers with annual payments volume equivalent to $7.3 million will no longer have to pay banks a fee of close to 2 per cent on electronic payments. According to the Times of India, banks that previously charged merchants the fee will now have to absorb it, because the government has banned them from imposing such a charge. The government is also reportedly requiring licensed retailers to be able to accept QR code payments and transactions through the country’s Unified Payments Interface (UPI), which enables users to send and receive bank-based payments from their smartphones.
Banks being forced to change by SME expectations
Changing expectations among SMEs will force banks to acquire new technology and drastically change their development culture, according to Louis Carbonnier, co-founder of SME insurance firm Hokodo. SMEs have at times been left in a no man’s land, without insurance, funding or proper services, according to Carbonnier. Business banking is still very much a ‘sticky’ sector: according to data from the British Business Bank, around half of UK SMEs tend to consider just one provider when looking for new finance options. But that could change, suggests Carbonnier, with the emergence of an ‘SME cockpit’ – a single platform through which small businesses will be able to do all their accounting, send invoices, have cashflow visibility and obtain business loans quickly. These are all services that fintechs and agile accounting firms have begun to integrate, says Carbonnier.
PayU takes majority stake in Singapore’s Red Dot Payment
Fintech and digital payment business PayU has taken a majority stake in Singapore online payment company Red Dot Payment. The deal values RDP at $65 million, and will see its founder and chief executive officer Randy Tan retaining a stake in the company, while a majority of other shareholders will exit. It allows PayU to plant its flag in South East Asia, and brings its total fintech investments to more than $700 million over the past three years. PayU, which is the payments and fintech business of South Africa-headquartered internet group and technology investor Naspers, will integrate RDP platforms into the PayU Hub.