UK small businesses lose £9.4bn a year in cash payments

24% of business owners claim to have been the victim of theft by a staff member, while 34% have lost cash due to human error

Cash payments are costing the UK’s small and medium-sized businesses £9.4bn a year, according to research that polled businesses and consumers from payment software provider Sage.

24% of businesses surveyed said members of staff were guilty of stealing cash, while 34% admitted they had lost cash as a result of human error. 56% claimed they spent up to an hour or more every week counting and transporting cash to the bank.

34% of respondents believed that the next 20 years could see a decline in the use of cash, with contactless growing to become the most popular form of payment by 2020.

Of consumers surveyed, 90% said that it’s important for businesses to offer a variety of payment methods, with 58% saying they are more likely to shop at retailers with multiple payment options. The survey found that older generations are keener to move away from cash with 59% of over 50s claiming they either don’t or have little dealings in cash.

Seamus Smith, CEO of Sage Pay, commented: “Our research proves that cash is bad for business. It’s costly and inconvenient, and appetite is growing for more innovative and flexible payment methods.

“Payments should be seamless, frictionless – and more often than not, cashless. Innovation in the sector has never been greater but small & medium businesses must keep pace with change. They are the lifeblood of the UK economy, and their success is critical to our national growth.”

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