The survey results contain actionable insights for providers, policy makers and other interested actors to support the expansion of payment acceptance to more small businesses in Mexico and in other countries and contexts.
First, the value of accepting digital payments for small businesses is about more than just the revenue from a particular sale. Accepting digital payments brings a greater real value proposition derived from expansion of customers, increased customer spending, improved business management, better insight into revenue and income, ease of access to financial accounts, and safety—as well as keeping up with customer preferences and competition. And where digital payments were used more, businesses grew more.
Payment facilitators, financial service providers, government, industry associations, and others should ensure that marketing and related materials convey the full range of benefits of accepting digital payments to continue to expand acceptance.
Second, payment facilitators are driving inclusion, reaching people and business owners who were not accepting digital payments before. The growth is being driven by very small businesses especially, and to some extent by women-owned businesses.
Any strategy to digitally enable micro and small businesses should include payment facilitators, FinTechs and other innovative companies that specifically serve the unique needs of micro and small businesses.
Third, a balanced, two-sided market with customers who want to pay digitally is important to expanding inclusion of micro and small businesses. Business owners were motivated most strongly to adopt digital payment acceptance by customer preference and to keep up with competition.
Policy makers should take this into account when reviewing regulations and trends and considering priorities to strengthen a market that grows in balance. It is also a valuable element of market-readiness assessments. Providers should incorporate these motivations into marketing and outreach campaigns to promote digital payments acceptance among micro and small businesses.
Fourth, adopters can be powerful advocates. Business owners who recently started to accept digital payments in Mexico through these payment facilitator partners are enthusiastic, and willing to recommend them to friends and peers. This suggests that micro and small business owners can be strong advocates and a valuable pathway for word-of-mouth promotion with neighboring businesses or through social media. This can be all the more effective because small business owners tend to trust their known networks for advice. Different benefits may be more appealing to different groups, for example marketing messages to women around safety and additional support to help them become more comfortable using technology.
Promotion efforts should seek to establish peer-to-peer communications and highlight diverse micro and small success stories, including those of women.
Fifth, payments acceptance supports survival and growth. Being digitally enabled—beginning with accepting payments—helps micro and small businesses grow and manage their businesses better and is an important element of successful responses to the impact of COVID-19. While not covered in this survey, research confirms that those businesses that have a digital touch point are better positioned to receive emergency support or government aid quickly during moments of crisis. (For example, see Small business in the digital age: recommendations for recovery and resilience.)
Prioritizing the digital enablement of small and especially micro businesses should be, as it very often is, a leading element of national and community strategies for recovery from COVID-19 and for strengthening future resilience.
Sixth, reliable and easy-to-use technology is a priority for small business owners. For all the positive feedback on the ease of use of payment facilitator platforms, including the portability of acceptance devices, the technical platform and speed of connectivity can be a challenge for some business owners. Women reported more challenges with technology than men.
Continuing to strive for reliability and simplicity in technical devices is essential to bolster their adoption, use, and promotion. Providing digital skills and capacity support to business owners, with a focus on women, can be a valuable complement to the service.