While it’s more convenient for consumers to use digital wallets and contactless transactions, merchants are seeing their card transaction fees increase – another pain point for those already trying to navigate the post-lockdown environment.

Since the initial lockdowns in 2020, Australia and New Zealand’s largest independent EFTPOS provider, Smartpay, reports merchant’s card transactions have jumped 20% compared to pre-lockdown transaction figures in 2019.

This overall increase in these transactions indicates sustained growth driven by lower cash usage and the shift to a cashless society. Card payments rose in 2021, up 13.1% on 2020; while digital wallets jumped 90% in the same period, with 68 million monthly transactions.

“This transaction data indicates SME merchants have started to rebound after many struggled through the Covid-19 lockdowns in 2021. But the increase in card usage equates to an increase in merchant fees, adding to costs at a time where saving costs is crucial to small to medium sized businesses,” Smartpay CEO, Marty Pomeroy said.

“Depending on the merchant’s service provider, small businesses have the opportunity to offset these transaction fees and shield themselves from this increase, allowing them to reinvest back into their business.”  

Pomeroy shares some business tips that SME merchants could invest their card transaction fee savings in, to maximise their business for 2022.

  1. Stabilise cash flow: For any business struggling after Covid-19 lockdowns, using savings to cover running costs and stabilise cash flow would be a high priority. Steering a business back to regular trading while improving cash flows is a good position to be in when planning for next year.
  1. Negotiate with suppliers: You should review your suppliers or seek alternatives from your current suppliers to get a better deal. Making the switch to new suppliers can help your business save and investing these savings to cover any financial gaps can prove beneficial long-term. 
  1. Marketing and loyalty: Investing in advertising and marketing can have an exponential effect on business. Even small amounts can be invested into online and social advertising, or marketing campaigns – there are often simple (or free) CRM tools businesses could use.  Savings could also be invested into new, financially viable rewards with new redemption rules to ensure loyal customers keep coming back.
  1. Recruitment: Savings could go into hiring new staff, increasing hours or investing in training courses; ways in which businesses can stay ahead of the curve and continue to deliver high levels of service.