Security ranks as number one eCommerce priority for US SMBs

Security overtakes reliability for online merchants while offline merchants expect in-store innovations to improve efficiencies and speed

Houston, TX (US) – October 23, 2018 – More than half (54%) of US online small to medium-sized businesses worry that the move to frictionless payments, such as transactions that take place behind the scenes in apps, is leaving them more open to fraud and will negatively impact revenues according to a new report from Paysafe. This concern is heightened by the fact that 76% feel they are being more aggressively targeted by fraudsters now compared to a year ago and 54% consider card fraud an increasing challenge.

These concerns mean US SMBs now view security as the most important factor when considering their eCommerce setup. Security (59%) ranks above reliability (45%), cost (49%) and ease of transactions including refunds (45%). US SMBs are also wary that these concerns may hamper the buyer journey for consumers. Four in five (80%) believe that longer verification processes during the payment stage – which could potentially combat these issues – runs the risk of losing consumers. Yet, 75% – a global high – admit they don’t know how to balance security with an acceptable customer experience, a global high amongst respondents, highlighting the trade-off faced by US online merchants.

Buying into a fragmented payments landscape

Leading global payments provider Paysafe’s latest research report, entitled Lost in Transaction: The Future of Payments for SMBs, is an international research report investigating the attitudes of small and medium online businesses in the US, Canada, UK, Germany and Austria to the evolution of payment types. It also incorporates further insights from offline, brick-and-mortar merchants in the US and Canada.

Abandoned transactions are also posing a problem for US merchants, with 10% of purchases not being completed. Yet, while 22% believe this reflects successful fraud checks, 32% say abandoned transactions have a major impact on business performance. Notably, 16% of US merchants believe purchases are abandoned purely because of a lack of payment options at the checkout phase.

When it comes to which payment options to offer, over four in five US merchants (82%) believe offering multiple choices is essential, while 82% plan to introduce new payment methods in the next two years. Credit cards (offered by 89% of US online merchants) remain relatively ubiquitous, while 52% of merchants – a global high – currently accept digital wallets, with a further 15% looking to adopt them over the next 24 months. Meanwhile, 79% believe accepting prepaid cards gives access to new customers, and 44% say they will offer online cash replacements in response to consumer demand, and to service the unbanked, in the next two years. One method with the greatest anticipated gains is mobile apps, with 45% planning to offer them in the next two years, up from 17% currently.

More innovative forms of payment

But merchants are also taking notice of macro consumer trends. 73% agree that consumers want more innovative ways to get short-term credit, as evidenced by the recent rise of ‘Pay Later’ style products which give consumers more flexibility. They also appear to be conscious of ‘proactive innovation’ – a surprising 40% of US SMBs in physical retail premises say they will be capable of delivering Amazon Go-style checkout-free stores in the next two years, to improve customer experience and reduce friction.

Todd Linden, CEO, Payment Processing North America, Paysafe Group, commented:

“US online SMBs want to be able to punch above their weight with their eCommerce footprint, but like many merchants internationally are struggling to find the right blend of security and making the consumer’s payment journey as simple as possible. US merchants are telling us that frictionless payments are becoming more important to their consumers, and therefore they plan to adopt many new payment types in the coming years. However, many have expressed equal concern in how this may expose them to greater fraud. Delivering new ways to pay is now a business imperative. This may go some way to explaining the rise of prepaid cards, online vouchers and cash replacement systems, which can alleviate these issues for both consumers and merchants.”

US contactless boom

In the US, offline merchants are also pushing to accept contactless transactions – an area where the US currently lags behind compared to global counterparts. Sixty two percent expect to offer it over the next couple of years (compared to 37% at present). These findings may be symptomatic of a fragmenting payments landscape, with 30% of US merchants reporting a decrease in cash payments in the past year. Research undertaken earlier this year showed 54% of UK consumers recently made a contactless payment, compared to just 3% in the US. But US merchants’ desire to enhance transaction efficiencies (74%) and speed up in-store payments (58%) and could finally symbolize a step change in contactless in the US market.

Readiness for invisible payments

US brick-and-mortar businesses also expect to widen their payments portfolio to appeal to consumers. Fifty-five percent believe they will have apps to allow customers to pay for goods automatically and similarly, 64% expect to have smartphone driven systems. 40% even expect to have fully frictionless, Amazon-Go style systems – a clear departure from the largely card-based delivery still widespread currently.

Necessary decision to better their businesses

“It is clear from these findings that US merchants are planning changes to their payments setup in the coming years, with signs that contactless payments may finally be ready to take off in the US. All of the changes merchants expect are being driven by a need to balance security, flexibility, frictionless payments, efficiency and speed. US businesses are clearly ambitious, as evidenced in the fi

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