Don’t trust banks, that’s what they say, isn’t it? After all, the financial crisis of 2008 may almost be a decade old, but the scars are still raw and the wounds still sore.
However, that should not cloud our judgement when it comes to making sensible, cost-effective financial decisions for our businesses. Banking online, or using other financial services – via the Internet or the cloud – can reduce costs and save time.
Online banking and banks come with a range of benefits that traditional institutions simply do not offer. Higher interest, lower fees and – more importantly – 24/7 customer service make online banking and finances an attractive solution for any business.
Similarly, moving finances and accounts online can help prepare your business for society’s decreased reliance on cash. Countries, economies and economists around the world are now urging businesses to wake up to the possibility that cash may soon become the exception, rather than the rule.
Even if it sounds obvious to some, this is important advice to be heeded. Among the many groups suggesting that cash is on the way out, The World Economic Forum (WEF) predicts that the majority of future transactions will involve fewer cash payments and will be cheaper because of that trend.
Therefore, not being online could significantly hamper a business’ ability to interact with customers, period.
Signing up to mobile payment platforms will also be cheaper than traditional and contactless card payments. Similarly, peer-to-peer online finance platforms often offer lower rates than traditional brick and mortar financial institutions, helping small businesses to overcome problems with scaling up.
Indeed, access to finance is one of the last great overhangs caused by the financial crisis, making this an important benefit of online financing that businesses really cannot afford.
Further, more and more financial organizations are gearing up to better improve their tech offering. Mastercard, for example, has recently announced a chatbot capability which will allow merchants (and those pesky banks) to communicate with their customers.
Financial chatbots are also cheaper than say, building an app or employing a person to handle customer service lines. Signing up to this service and getting online can provide businesses with a decent, low cost revenue stream.
SMEs from across the developed world should take inspiration from emerging economies and businesses in poorer countries, which are wholeheartedly embracing the benefits of digital transactions and – in part – a cashless society.
There are roughly two billion people in the developing world that do not have access to a bank. Digital finance platforms – the type that can be used on a smartphone – are providing the means for businesses and entrepreneurs to get off the ground.
There is absolutely no reason why businesses in developing countries should not be taking advantage of this technology either.
Globally, 70 percent of microenterprises have a bank account, but just five percent have access to loans and finance. Online banking and digital finance platforms can not only save money, but provide access to much needed funds.
If you aren’t already, it’s time to get yourself online.