Almost two-thirds (64%) of small and medium-sized businesses in Romania say they accept card payments due to the speed, safety and immediate access to money, reveals the latest survey on the digitalisation of businesses conducted by Visa in partnership with the National Council of Small and Medium Sized Businesses in Romania (CNIPMMR).
Moreover, half (48%) of the businesses that currently don’t accept card payments say that they plan to implement payment acceptance solutions in the future, as a measure to support business development. Customers’ demand for such solutions is also an important reason for companies that already accept or plan to implement electronic payments.
To remain competitive and thrive in the globalised digital economy, SMBs must make sure they offer the payment methods that their customers prefer and have a solid online presence. Since the start of the pandemic, Visa has strengthened its position as digital economy enabler and launched community-based programs and solutions to help more small businesses accept digital payments and gain greater access to the digital economy, contributing to a more inclusive and sustainable economy.
“The digital transformation of small and medium-sized businesses is a hot topic on the public agenda, given that Romania ranks last in Europe in this respect according to the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) 2022. Digital payments offer opportunities for SMBs to increase their revenues and more payment options for their customers, in-store and online. In the context of the pandemic, we have seen an increase in the acceptance of electronic payments among merchants, as a result of the change in consumers’ payment behaviour, as they were much more oriented towards contactless and online payments. The fact that almost half of the managers who participated in the survey consider digitalization very important for their business and plan to invest in digital payment solutions is a positive signal. Supporting businesses is a priority for us, and Visa #MarileAfaceriMici platform offers SMBs the opportunity to access both information about digital solutions available in Romania, as well as special offers from local partners, helping them to adapt to the new economic environment”, says Elena Ungureanu, Visa Country Manager in Romania.
“Digitalization is still a challenge for the business environment. Sensing the need and the future trends in the digitalization process, in 2019 we launched the Romania TECH Nation concept, including education as one of the three levels, because our priority should be to educate the business environment, the employees and the general public as regards digitalization. Our proposal is in line with the survey which reveals that the entrepreneurs’ main requirements are the digitalization of state institutions, tax deductions for expenses on digitalization or subsidies for training courses for employees in the digital field. Thus, digitalization should become a national project implemented by the governors and the digitalization of companies and public administration should become a priority,” says Florin Jianu, President of the National Council of SMBs in Romania.
Almost 70% of the companies that participated at the survey consider the digital transformation of their business as important or very important, so initiatives that support small businesses to go digital are even more necessary at this time. Among Visa’s initiatives dedicated to small merchants and courier companies that deliver a large part of goods purchased online with cash on delivery is the expansion of the Tap-to-Phone service, a modern solution that allows contactless payments via a smartphone and thus eliminates the cost with additional equipment. As proof of the need for such easy to implement solutions, almost half (48%) of the respondents who currently don’t accept card payments mentioned the difficulties in implementing the classic solutions, as a main barrier for accepting electronic payments.
More than a third of respondents (35%) say they sell their products in-store and online, or exclusively online. However, in most cases (73%), the percentage of online sales in the total business is below 20%, proving that there is still room for the development of this market segment.
The adoption of electronic payments – online and in-store – helps businesses improve the way they are perceived by consumers. According to the international study “Attitudes towards payment methods” carried out this year by EVO Group in partnership with Visa, 7 out of 10 consumers perceive businesses that accept electronic payments as modern and customer oriented.
As regards payments with business cards, the main advantages underlined by respondents are ease of use and convenience (80%), better control of expenses (41%) and safety (35%). More than half of the SMBs surveyed say they pay by card at least 3-4 times a month. Most of the time, card payments are used for expenses on fuel, business travel or taxes.
In contrast, only 2% of respondents indicated ATM cash withdrawals as their main way of using the card. The top reason for choosing cash is when digital payments are unavailable, according to 7 out of 10 participants.
About the research
The survey on the digitalization of SMBs was conducted online, between April 14 and June 20, 2022, by Visa in partnership with the National Council of Small and Medium Sized Businesses in Romania (CNIPMMR). 534 companies from all business segments (micro, small, medium and large) and from all country areas participated at the research.
 The Digital Economy and Society Index — Countries’ performance in digitization: https://digital-strategy.ec.europa.eu/en/policies/countries-digitisation-performance