Research shows how SMEs aren’t best served by current financial services providers in the face of fractured payments methods and the challenges of international trade.
Revolut Business, An innovative global business account built for growth, speed, ease and security, today released the findings of its “2020 Vision: Taking a closer look at antiquated banking practices” report. Based on a survey of 602 UK, French, and Polish SMEs, the report reveals that SMEs are sticking with traditional financial services providers despite new demands from digital-first businesses.
Over half of SMEs now do some form of international business and a further 13% expect to start doing so soon. In 2008, sixty percent of all transactions were paid in cash. Fast forward to a decade later and payments come in a variety of different methods. Thirty-four of SME customers are paying by bank transfer, 23% by cash, 23% by credit/debit card and 19% by other means.
Despite this, almost a quarter of SMEs have not switched business account provider since 2008. In total, 63% have had the same provider for more than five years. Why? Thirty-eight percent of SMEs in Poland and France, and 27% in the UK, cited proximity to branches as key factor in the selection of their current business account providers.
Just over a quarter of SMEs also stated they still visit a physical branch of their provider every day. Over half say they seldom or never call their provider and just under half seldom or never visit a branch. In contrast, 43% of SMEs use web / app interfaces to manage their business accounts daily and a further 30% do so weekly.
However, the findings suggest the status quo is set to change, with just under half of SMEs revealing that they are looking to change business account providers in the next twelve months.
What SMEs value in business account partnerships is telling. Eighty percent of SMEs picked out 24/7 access to their accounts as important. Security (89%), transparency of charges (89%) and low fees (86%) were also rated highly.
SMEs’ desired attributes of a business account provider are also revealing. Half of SMEs want a business account to be user friendly – the most popular attribute amongst respondents. Automation of regular tasks (28%) and ‘perks’ (25%) were the next two most desirable attributes.
“Most SMEs have stuck with longstanding, traditional business account relationships, but this is set to change,” said Vaidas Adomauskas, Head of Product, Revolut Business. “Today’s global SMEs are embracing accounting or collaboration solutions such as Xero and Slack, that make running a business easier. They’re looking for features that make running their business finances faster, more flexible, and more friendly toward global growth. Traditional business accounts are simply not eam”
“Our research reveals that SMEs are expecting a similar business account service,” said Adomauskas, “They’re less reliant on cash and physical branches and more focused on user-friendly experiences across web and mobile. Naturally, the forty-two percent of SMEs looking to switch business account providers in the next twelve months will gravitate to those offering digital experiences that save both time and costs – leaving SMEs to focus on growing their business”.
To get more insight into current SME business account relationships and priorities, download our “2020 Vision: Taking a closer look at antiquated banking practices” whitepaper, here.