Cash use has faced a dramatic decline in recent years. They say consumers vote with their wallets, and we’ve voted for cheaper, more efficient ways to utilise our credit. Technology has played an enormous role in our step away from paper to digital but within this movement, there are growing concerns that some of society's most vulnerable groups may be excluded. Technology has the ability to both bring together and divide the public. What we must bear in mind is that while it may be part of the problem, it’s also the solution.
Financial inclusion is all about bringing financial services that are both affordable and effective for everybody. Think democratised payments. This includes the homeless, those below the poverty line, the elderly, small business owners and anybody who for one reason or another has been or will be let down by big banking and payments. Being financially included should be considered a basic human right.
So, how do we achieve it? It’s pretty simple. As previously stated, the technology that we need to support financial inclusion is right in front of us. Firstly, we need to make sure that every member of society has the minimum they need to succeed. Take small business owners, for example. To help them thrive, we need to give them tools like affordable card readers, eliminate the endless bureaucracy and binding contracts tied with payments, offer them choice, and educate them about their options.
We should be particularly mindful of people who would struggle in a potentially cashless world. Our mission at SumUp is to empower smaller merchants, who often find it tricky to obtain affordable payment solutions for their businesses. On average, SumUp merchants experience 40% - 60% business growth as a result of introducing card acceptance – proof that offering affordable technology can really make a difference.
Currently, 2million small businesses around the world use our services to get paid. We believe that by offering them a variety of payment methods, from remote to in-person, as well as access to personal customer support and easy-to-digest technology, we help them enter a world that big banks have traditionally blocked them from. The key? Simplicity. Running a small business is complicated enough, so financial tech companies and banks should be making it their priority to offer simple and clear solutions.
We must remember that when we bring everyone along for the ride, we build a happier and healthier society and economy. There’s a long way to go, and a multitude of things that need to be done, but together we can get there.
If you’re a small business looking for more tips, tricks, or even an affordable, easy-to-use payment solution, visit https://sumup.co.uk/fsb.