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Almost half of UK SMEs experiencing delayed payments

48 per cent of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) across the UK have voiced their frustration about delayed payments reaching their business bank accounts, following an online survey from YouGov and ACI Worldwide.

The research discovered that delayed payments are hampering SMEs’ ability to successfully carry out their day-to-day business.

The survey outlined a number of ways that delayed business payments are negatively affecting SMEs’ wider business success.

A third (33 per cent) of respondents said late payments make it harder for them to meet their own financial obligations on time. Almost a fifth (17 per cent) said that late payments can negatively impact on staff upkeep – from salaries and recruitment to expense reimbursement.

Additionally, 10 per cent of respondents stated that late payments limit business requirements such as day-to-day equipment, product development and research.

Almost all SME owners surveyed (95 per cent) believe real-time payments would be of significant benefit to them. 29 per cent pinpointed faster payments as the most crucial banking service to ensure SME growth in the current economic climate.

Barry Kislingbury, director, solution consulting, Immediate Payments at ACI Worldwide, said: “For small businesses, delayed and unpredictable cash flow can significantly affect their success.

“Our research presents a great opportunity for banks working with these businesses to demonstrate the value of their real-time payments offering.

“This will not only help them grow in the medium-term, but will also strengthen the overall economy in the future.”

The majority of businesses (67 per cent) prefer bank transfer as their method of payment from customers. Bank transfer is increasingly supported by Faster Payments: the only UK banking service that significantly reduces payment times between banks and customer accounts.

The Faster Payments service, now available to 52 million UK current account holders, is offered by ten major banks and building societies, as well as 400 other financial institutions. Nevertheless, almost a quarter (24 per cent) of SMEs surveyed were still not aware of the service and its benefits.

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