Small businesses are increasingly moving their operations online and embracing digital payments, according to Visa, with 80 per cent of transactions across Europe now contactless.
Data from the payments giant also shows that more than 10 countries in Europe have seen a 20 per cent increase in online sales since the Covid-19 pandemic.
Last June, Visa launched a campaign to help eight million independent businesses adapt for a post pandemic environment – more than two million small firms across Europe have now received support.
The Where You Shop Matters campaign offers packages to small businesses to help either build an online storefront, accept digital payments or encourage consumers to shop local. More than 100 partners, including banks, governments, commerce platforms and technology partners, across Europe have joined the initiative.
Industry partners include Alpha Bank, Akbank, Axerve, Banca Sella, Banco Santander, BeeDigital, CEC Bank, the Co-Operative bank, Clickandcollection.com, Fiserv, Fruugo, Glovo, iCard- myPOS, Israel Credit Cards, Juni, National Bank of Greece, Tyl by NatWest, Nexi, Orderbird, Oma Savings Bank Plc, Payplug, Piraeus Bank, ShopAppy.com, Shopify, Viva Wallet, WorldLine and Yell.
Hemlata Narasimhan, senior VP in merchant sales and acquiring for Europe at Visa, said: “We are proud that over two million small businesses have been able to benefit from our partner initiatives. We remain committed to continue working with our clients and partners towards an economic recovery that keeps small businesses at the heart of our communities.
“Small businesses play a crucial role in our communities and many continue to operate under challenging conditions brought on by Covid-19. We continue to be inspired by the innovation and entrepreneurial spirit many small business owners have shown, adapting how they do business to keep serving their customers.”
In the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia, Visa is working with governments to provide small business access to contactless acceptance terminals and software free of charge for the first 12 months. Additionally, governments in 29 countries have raised the contactless limit to make it easier for consumers to pay touch free.
Meanwhile, a new Visa technology that transforms mobile devices into payment terminals is helping small business owners to accept digital payments in the Czech Republic, Italy, Poland, Romania, Slovakia Turkey, Ukraine and the UK.
In partnership with banks and fintechs across Europe, Visa has more than 30 new business card programmes that help small firms better manage their cashflow and purchasing. It has also expanded its Practical Business Skills platform that delivers free education resources to small firms.
Visa has called for more partners to support its initiatives aimed at supporting small businesses with the aim of digitising millions more small firms.