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Cash is still king for small businesses, according to new Simply Business poll

2-minute read

Anna Delves

14 February 2017

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Advances in technology mean that it's now possible to run a cashless business, but almost half of small businesses say that going cashless isn't feasible.

An HMRC survey at the end of last year found that most small businesses still take cash. Only 29 per cent said they were cashless, and most of those were businesses offering only high-value services like building work.

We decided to take a deeper look, asking small businesses about their attitudes towards a cashless system.

46% say a cashless business wouldn’t work for them

Of everyone polled, 70 per cent said that they did not use an entirely cashless system, although 21 per cent do use chip and pin machines to take payments.

However, the reluctance of small business owners to switch to a cashless payment system isn’t just stubbornness - 46 per cent of small businesses say that a cashless system simply wouldn’t work. This may be due to the costs associated with cashless payment systems, and also customer reluctance to abandon cash payments.

On the other hand, not so long ago it would have seemed impossible to pay for a taxi or handyman without cash, but innovators like Uber and TaskRabbit have started to shake things up. We may find that concepts that couldn’t work right now are far less out of the question in a few years time.

24% of small businesses only use online payments

Despite over two thirds of business still receiving cash payments, and nearly half both unwilling and unable to switch to a cashless system, 30 per cent do not use cash at all.

Of those polled, six per cent only accept chip and pin or contactless payments, while nearly a quarter say they only accept payments online or via an app.

Of course, the way you receive payment will vary from business to business. If you run an online shop you’re more likely to take payment via services like PayPal than if your shop doesn’t have an online presence, or if you run a restaurant or takeaway.

Methods of payment are constantly changing, but it’s clear that for the moment, cash is still king for small businesses.

Are you looking to go cashless? Let us know in the comments

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