The 2023 Payment Trends Survey conducted by Citizens has found that while corporate treasury departments are increasingly adopting modern payment methods, such as social tokens, real-time payments, and virtual cards, traditional payment modes like checks, automated clearing house (ACH), and physical credit cards continue to maintain a strong presence in the market. The study surveyed 205 treasury executives from middle-market companies with annual revenues between $50 million and $1 billion.
Key findings from the survey show that middle-market companies use an average of five payment methods, with physical credit cards and wire transfers being the most popular. Although newer payment methods like virtual cards have gained some traction, their adoption levels remain relatively low, with half of the businesses still using paper checks.
Citizens’ research also highlights the interest of companies in expanding their payment mix. Around 60% of non-users of real-time payments said they were “very likely” to consider incorporating them into their payment strategy, primarily due to the speed associated with these solutions. Additionally, about 40% of non-users expressed interest in considering virtual or digital credit cards or business-to-consumer (B2C) payment alternatives like Zelle.
Middle-market businesses have started to adopt B2C payment options such as Venmo, PayPal, and Zelle for various treasury functions, including vendor payments and salary disbursements. Nearly half of the companies surveyed said they would use B2C alternatives to issue refunds.
Social tokens, which enable payments to be sent to phone numbers or email addresses instead of requiring bank account information, are emerging as an innovation in B2C technologies. Most companies surveyed found social tokens to be easy and secure, and they appreciate not having to retain bank account information on their servers.
Virtual cards, a digital alternative to physical credit cards, have also gained attention from middle-market companies. Sectors with the highest virtual card adoption include human capital management and business services, while consumer sector businesses have been slowest to adopt this technology.
Small business owners should stay informed about these trends in payment methods, as adopting modern payment solutions can offer speed, security, and convenience to their customers and vendors. Balancing the use of traditional and modern payment methods can help small businesses meet diverse needs while streamlining and upgrading outdated modes.
To view the complete results of the 2023 Payment Trends Survey, please click here.
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