Investing in Payments Vital for Business Growth Say Global Financial Leaders

  • Payments , Consultancy
  • 19.03.2024 11:10 am

Investment in new payment solutions is set to power business growth and will enable international expansion, a new report by payments provider Conferma has found.

The Growth Ignition Index report, based on an independent survey of over 400 financial decision-makers from the UK, USA, Canada, Singapore, Australia, Brazil, and UAE, aimed to uncover what businesses think will ignite growth and what stands in their way.

Beyond the need to increase customer demand, cited by 46%, businesses say improving cash flow (36%) and investing in digital transformation (34%) are most needed to secure business growth in the next five years.

Investing in new technology was the leading business priority overall (59% of respondents), and more than half (57%) said they had invested in payment capabilities to a ‘significant degree’ over the last five years as part of this approach. Almost nine in ten (88%) said they were either actively using or were considering using virtual cards – credit cards that exist in digital form to enable quicker and more secure payments – to meet strategic objectives.

International expansion was a priority for 45% of businesses, with exactly half (50%) having invested significantly into capabilities such as new tech, hires, and partnerships to unlock these new opportunities.

It’s easy to see why technology and payment capability are seen as so vital to businesses. Operational efficiency (30%) was seen as the primary barrier to business growth, and the majority saw introducing technological advancements and overpayments as a means of improving overall productivity.

Jason Lalor, Conferma CEO, said: “Our findings show that businesses are very clear about how they need to grow, but in many cases face significant barriers based on both internal and external factors. We know that those who invest in technology, and focus on digital transformation, do so with a clear purpose and not just to keep up. The investment in payment capabilities in particular is a reflection of the fact that growth is reliant on an expanding ecosystem of transactions, and that payments - wherever they happen - must be made as simple and efficient as possible.”

Payments powering growth

Drilling further into the role of payment technologies, over half (54%) of respondents said that instant payments that deliver funds at the point of transfer would improve efficiency and therefore accelerate growth, and 43% said that integrating new payment solutions with their existing systems would deliver gains. Exactly a third said that both automated repeat purchases and zero-admin touchless payments would provide greater efficiency.

Those turning to virtual cards did so to support growth objectives they had separately outlined.  For those already utilizing virtual cards, 46% cite improved security and reduced fraud risk as the primary benefit, emphasizing the critical role virtual cards play in fortifying payment processes. Another significant benefit cited by 22% of virtual card users was simpler cross-border payments for their organization – supporting intentions to trade overseas.

Two-thirds (67%) of current users deploy virtual cards when paying for services, demonstrating their versatility beyond simple payments such as supplies or low-level repeat orders. Likewise, purchasing technology or equipment (57%) and paying for software (51%) showcase the breadth of their B2B applications.

Jason Lalor commented: “Virtual cards can offer a compelling solution to the challenges limiting international growth by offering enhanced security, streamlined onboarding and supplier processes, and seamless cross-border transactions. We’ve found that those who use virtual cards are more likely to have undertaken wider business transformation processes, highlighting how virtual cards are increasingly viewed as a means of reaching strategic business objectives.”

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