Wednesday, 29 April 2015 16:11

Electronic payments 'critical' but businesses ready to shop around


Almost a third of Australian businesses say electronic (non-card) payments are critical to them, according to a new survey.

A survey of 20,000 Australian executives by Roy Morgan Research and commissioned by IT services company HCL Technologies found that 45% accept electronic payments from their customers via PayPal, digital wallets and similar mechanisms.

Of these, 64% described the practice as extremely critical or very critical to their businesses.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, retailers and food and accommodation service providers are among the most likely to accept such payments. (The survey probably didn't pick up the self-employed taxi and hire-car drivers that receive payments through services such as ingogo and Uber.)

PayPal is used by more than 30% of organisations in the wholesale trade; professional, technical and scientific services; retail trade; and manufacturing sectors.

The survey also found that most organisations avoid minimum-spend limits for electronic payments for cost and efficiency reasons, 17% seek to reduce fees and processing workloads by imposing minimum limits that range from $5 to more than $20.

And in a warning to incumbents, more than half of the respondents said better pricing was enough to make them consider switching to a different transaction service provider.

"Financial institutions and their customers will experience unprecedented levels of change over the next few years as new payments methods continue to emerge," said Roy Morgan general manager of financial services Jason Hulme.

"This will open up opportunities for banks to get closer to their main financial institution customers in a very tangible way.

"On the flip side, unless Australia's major banks are proactive and support this change, the threat of losing this vital touch point to third parties is very real.

"Customers will continue to raise their expectations in terms of speed, convenience, and security.

"As a result, it would be short-sighted to assume that the likes of PayPal, crypto-currencies, and digital wallets will be the end of innovation in this space.

"Banks must support both their merchants and customers to ensure that, where appropriate, preferred methods of payments are supported."

Image: HLundgaard [CC BY-SA 3.0] via Wikipedia


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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.



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