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New report says that cash is now bad for business

Small businesses that continue to handle cash are losing out because of undetected theft, human error and inefficiency, according to a new report from Sage.

Its 2017 Payments Landscape report, which polled 1,900 businesses and 100 consumers, indicates small firms across the country are losing as much as £9.4bn a year due to cash payments.

Almost a quarter (24%) of business owners surveyed as part of the report admitted they’d been a target of cash theft by a staff member. Meanwhile more than a third (34%) revealed they’d lost cash as a consequence of human error.

In addition, more than half (56%) of business owners said they spent at least an hour a week counting and transporting cash to their bank(s).

A store which offers a diverse range of payment methods is viewed much more favourably by consumers, with 90% of consumers polled saying it’s important for firms to offer them a wide range of payment methods. Interestingly, more than half (58%) admitted they would shop elsewhere if they weren’t offered multiple ways to pay.

Seamus Smith, CEO of Sage Pay, said: “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.

“The stats we’ve seen come out of this study are part of a wider trend. We know that cash use is in decline. The number of cashpoints in the UK has hit a peak, yet people are withdrawing cash less and less.”

Smith insists that consumer payments have to be “seamless, frictionless – and more often than not, cashless”.

“Innovation in the sector has never been greater but small and medium businesses must keep pace with change.”

Image: Simon Brass

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