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Small businesses forced to adapt as shoppers reject cash

29 June 2021

Cash-only small firms risk losing customers if they don't offer alternative payment options, a new study finds.

Payment methods have become a key factor during the pandemic as new research reveals that six in ten shoppers (61%) say they now use less cash because of hygiene fears. What's more, one in five people (20%) say they would be put off from using a small business if they could only pay in cash.

These are the findings of a new survey conducted by Opinium on behalf of QR-code based payment and invoicing app, tomato pay. The research also indicates that more than half (53%) of cash-only businesses have lost customers in the past year because they don't offer alternative payment options. Overall, a third (35%) of shoppers say they choose where to shop based on the availability of non-cash payment options.

However, while cash-only small businesses know they are risking losing customers by only accepting cash payments, 42% say they find it difficult to justify the costs of offering contactless card payments while half (50%) say they have concerns about security.

Nicholas Heller, founder and ceo of tomato pay, said: "Community has never been as important as it is today and watching the business and sole trader community struggle throughout the pandemic has spurred many of us to support our local communities and businesses, but people still want to be able to pay how they choose."

There are alternatives to contactless card payments, including QR-code based payments. In fact, the research found that 42% of people said it would be far easier to make a payment if all they had to do was scan a QR code.

"Many small businesses can't justify the costs of offering card payments, but there is clear support for QR-code based payments which are far cheaper for small businesses to implement, with four in ten people saying they'd find it easier to pay a small business using a QR code," said Heller.

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