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News Round-up: SMEs missing out on older talent, Citi adds partners to digital consumer payments service, Amazon adding utility bill payment to Alexa

Here are the week’s main news stories in the world of small business and digital payments:

Older talent slipping through the net for SMEs

Despite SMEs overwhelmingly understanding the benefits of employing older workers, most feel the recruitment process discriminates against older workers, according to independent research of 933 UK SMEs commissioned by Close Brothers Asset Finance. Half of those polled admit they are struggling to recruit the talent they need or to foresee problems in the future. According to the research, the larger the business, the bigger the concern becomes. The research found that 66 per cent of SME business owners of the view the recruitment process as favouring younger workers.

Citi partners with Global Payments and PPRO on digital consumer payments

Citi’s Treasury and Trade Solutions (TTS) has announced additional partnerships to support the development of its forthcoming Spring by CitiSM consumer payments offering for institutional clients. Citi will incorporate Global Payments’ card processing solutions and PPRO’s access to local payment methods within its offering. The addition of these partners supports Citi’s strategy of building a comprehensive consumer payments solution, integrated with its market leading transaction banking proposition. Announced earlier this year, Spring by Citi will enable digital commerce for clients by extending Citi’s significant presence and capabilities offered to institutional clients.

Utility bill payments coming to Amazon Alexa

Amazon will soon allow consumers to use Amazon Pay for bill payments by voice and online. The e-commerce giant has said it would be partnering with fintech company Paymentus to add the feature to let customers pay online or else by voice using Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant. Amazon Pay vice president Patrick Gauthier said the company saw an opportunity in bill payments as about 70 per cent of consumers don’t enrol in automatic payments. The new feature will allow users to get notifications through Alexa when their bills are due and to ask questions about the bill amount or how it compares with prior ones.

SMEs paying price for Brexit uncertainty

Uncertainty over Brexit has cost smaller firms over £1 million each in lost revenue and turnover in the past three years, new research suggests. Only a third of 1,000 SMEs surveyed by distribution company CitySprint said they had seen the government’s ‘Get Ready For Brexit’ advertising campaign. One in five said they had not seen or accessed any government guidance or support since 2016, raising questions about how well prepared smaller businesses are, according to the report. Almost half of those polled said they do not believe the government has done enough to help businesses prepare for Brexit.

Payments processing for SMEs launched by Kabbage

Kabbage, the small businesses cash flow solutions provider, has announced the general availability of a new payment processing solution for small businesses. After a successful beta programme, Kabbage Payments is the first of several new products the company will launch in the upcoming months to enable small businesses to more efficiently and intelligently manage their cash flow. Two-thirds of Kabbage’s 200,000+ customers rely on invoicing to receive payments today and wait as long as 90 days to be paid. Kabbage Payments drastically reduces the time required to receive payments in typical net-term invoicing, with users settling invoices as quickly as 24 hours.

Fiserv bids to improve bill payment experience

Fiserv, a global provider of financial services technology solutions, has launched a new solution which incorporates intuitive suggestions and increased automation to enable financial institutions to deliver compelling bill payment experiences. CheckFree NextSM from Fiserv offers APIs that can enable financial institutions to efficiently deliver the capabilities customers expect. Many of the capabilities are possible because of the size and scale of the Fiserv biller network and the breadth of the company’s real-time connections. Fiserv has direct connections to more than 600 billers, and the company’s electronic bill pay solutions are used by nearly 4,000 financial institutions, supporting 29 million active bill pay users.

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News Round-up: SMEs missing out on older talent, Citi adds partners to digital consumer payments service, Amazon adding utility bill payment to Alexa
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