16 million small and medium-sized businesses became digital thanks to Visa

Visa digitally activates 16 million small and medium-sized enterprises, approaching the target of 50 million SMEs worldwide. New Visa research shows how important digital skills are for small businesses to compete in the new reality that is shaping after the pandemic.

New category of digital small businesses

Visa announced that it has helped digitally activate about 16 million small and micro-enterprises worldwide, or just over 30% of the multi-annual target set in 2020 for the digitisation of 50 million companies.

Since the start of the pandemic, Visa has launched community-based programs around the world to help more small businesses accept digital payments and thus gain greater access to the digital economy.

The need for small businesses to continue to grow digitally is highlighted in the 5th edition of the global Visa Back to Business survey released today, which finds that 68% of consumers claim that the COVID-19 pandemic has definitively changed the way they make their payments.

“In these 19 months of pandemic, we have seen that the small businesses that embraced digital trade and cross-border sales have better overcome the pandemic,” said Sevdalina Vassileva, Visa’s General Manager for Greece, Bulgaria and Cyprus. “But it’s no longer just about adaptation and survival.

We are now seeing a promising rise in entrepreneurship and as we move towards our goal of digitally activating 50 million businesses, we are helping for the first time a new generation of entrepreneurs to operate online as digitally indigenous.”

Visa Back to Business Study: Consumer preferences for payment methods worldwide

The subject of study by the visa back to business global survey was SMEs owners and their customers in the context of the pandemic. The rich data gathered from the five editions of the study, and in particular the findings of the most recent edition, highlight the opportunities for economic development that arise from the connection between SMEs, local communities and technology:

Small and medium-sized enterprises are still working to meet consumer expectations, given that the pandemic has dramatically increased the concern of customers who prefer not to come into contact with cash and payment terminals, also for health reasons, reinforcing their desire to pay intact (tap to pay).

74% of SMEs around the world expect customers to continue to prefer contactless payments as much as now, or even more so, with two out of five, about 40% of SMEs, reporting investment in contactless payment technology, among the top investments needed to meet their customers’ expectations.

Contactless payments as a comparative competitive advantage

More than two out of five, so 44% of consumers, say they won’t shop in a store that offers exclusive payment methods that require contact with the cashier or shared device. Stores that do not accept contactless payments may as a result run an increased risk of losing customers.

Priority is given to online security, considering that a year ago, 17% of small and medium-sized enterprises in the US first started selling products or services online during the pandemic, and now 57% are expected to continue to do the same for the next three months.

However, many small-sized businesses surveyed responded that this change highlighted new challenges, and reported being mainly concerned about privacy and data security issues (33%), the cost of investing in digital infrastructure (31%) and reduced personal contact with customers (30%).

An opportunity for startup, digitally informed companies, while 54% of businesses said that the past year was a challenge for their businesses, 46% saw it as an opportunity, up from 38% in November 2020.

Among those who saw 2020 as an opportunity, 37% focused on developing new products and 34% on expanding sales channels, while 23% founded a completely new business.

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