Chart showing the top forms of payment accepted by small businesses

Top Payment Options for Small Businesses

One key aspect entrepreneurs should consider when starting a business is payment options. Currently, digital wallets and credit cards top the list of the most popular online payment methods worldwide. But what do small business owners prefer? In other words, what are the top forms of payment accepted by small businesses?

Top five payment methods for small businesses

According to a recent study, online payments rank first on the list of the forms of payment accepted by small businesses. Over nine in 10 (92%) small businesses in the United States say it’s a payment method they currently accept. Of the remaining, 5% say they intend on introducing it in the coming year.

The high percentage of small businesses accepting online payment options shouldn’t come as a surprise, especially since global ecommerce sales have been rising year after year. In 2023, this is forecast to total $6.3 trillion. Ecommerce sales in the US are no different—in 2021, total online sales grew 18.2% to $959.5 billion. The number of people shopping online in the US is also increasing and is expected to hit 218.8 million this year. Given these numbers, accepting online payments can prove extremely beneficial for small businesses.

The second most popular payment option for small businesses is credit cards. 87% of small business owners say they accept it as a form of payment, and another 5% plan to start doing so in the next year. Credit cards are also currently the preferred form of online payment among consumers in North America, used by 31% of them.

Real-time payment services rank next on this list of top payment options for small businesses, accepted by just over half (52%) of all small businesses. These refer to payments that are initiated and concluded nearly immediately, often within seconds, even during non-banking hours such as weekends and holidays.

Buy now, pay later (BNPL) services also rank among the top payment methods accepted by small businesses. Just over one in three (36%) of them currently allow customers to pay using BNPL, and another 23% plan on introducing it in the coming year. With the number of BNPL users on the rise, ecommerce store owners should certainly consider introducing it as a form of payment. 

Cryptocurrency payments round out the five most popular forms of payment accepted by small businesses. 28% of small businesses currently accept it, and 27% intend to introduce it in the coming year.

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