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SMEs must prepare for a cash-free society and adapt or fail

Daniel Liberto

Simon Black predicted that in 10 years nobody will pay for services with cash, as it had become too “expensive” for firms and too slow a process for clients. This meant that those who did not start adapting now could be “left behind”.

Comparing the rapid rise of cashless technology to the -evolution of television sets over the past 20 years, he claimed that change was “inevitable” and warned SMEs to adapt in order to keep their clients satisfied.

He said: “A cashless society is the future and it will happen; it is just a matter of when. Now-adays there is a wide adoption of card payments, smart phones, wide wi-fi coverage and innovative apps, so we are certainly getting there.

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“Small businesses need to be aware of the changes and to make sure they engage with their clients. Give the custo-mer a choice. You need to understand what your custo-mer wants and that cash payments cost your business.”

Mr Black said that the savviest SME owners would have been made aware of changes in how society paid for products, by asking peers about their experiences and analysing how the general public behaved when shopping.

The chief executive of Sage Pay made these points following the recent release of research by his firm, which indicated that cash transactions cost UK businesses more than £17.8bn a year.

Adviser view

Neil Sadler, chartered financial planner at London-based LIFT-Financial, said: “In regards to day-to-day transactions, I am sure we are heading towards a cashless society, but unfortunately we are a very long way from paperless transactions in retail financial services.”