New research from Square, the payments company for small businesses founded by Jack Dorsey, shows paying by card is the choice for the majority of the UK, with 64% of people surveyed saying they would prefer a business that only accepted cards over one that only accepted cash*. However up to 2.6 million** SMEs across the UK still don’t accept card payments, putting themselves at a competitive disadvantage.

The study also revealed that 81% of people would shop more locally if they knew a business took card payments. 44% of those living in the UK carry under £10 in cash on their person at any one time with only 13% use a cash machine once a month. The most popular age group who would prefer to pay by card are 40-44 year olds, 73% of which would choose a card-only business over a cash-only business.

Despite over 5.7 million small businesses in the UK being key contributors to the economy, not all are taking advantage of technology to maximise their potential with many still not geared up to take card payments. With such a variety of small business owners, its increasingly important that people seek out new technologies to avoid missing out on sales and maximise profits.

To help bridge the gap between cashless consumers and cash-only businesses, Square is launching an advertising campaign to help small businesses understand the benefits of accepting card payments. Square launched in San Francisco in 2009 and supports millions of small businesses around the world. The service came to the UK in March 2017, its fifth international market.

Featuring real business owners from across the UK, the ad campaign has been designed to encourage more traders to embrace technology and accept card payments. The campaign reflects the unique spirit and character of the UK’s small business community and celebrate modern entrepreneurship. It is the first national advertising campaign that Square has created specifically for the UK.

One such business benefiting from technologies like Square is Plum Duff Bakery – a cash only business for the last 45 years ago which started taking card payments in January for the first time.

Ian Moore, Owner of Plum Duff says, “After serving customers for so long, I was a bit wary about technology and if I’m honest a bit stuck in my ways. I’m not technologically minded so the prospect of taking cards was a bit daunting. I realised though that Plum Duff needed to join the 21st Century.

“We realised that we were missing out on a lot of sales because people could only pay in cash. The difference being able to accept cards has made has been amazing. It was so easy to set up – even for someone who’s not technologically minded like me! Whilst our traditional recipes remain the same and have stood the test of time, our business and ability to make life easier for our customers is changing with Square.”

Square makes it easy for businesses to accept card payments using the Square Reader (£39) and the free Point of Sale app. Square charges 1.75% for every payment made in person and 2.5% for other payments made by invoice, online or over the phone, with no long term commitments or monthly fees.

The ‘Square and Fair’ campaign has been created by gyro London and celebrates the UK as a nation of shopkeepers and independent business owners. Set to the 1942 wartime song “The Thing-Ummy Bob”, performed by Gracie Fields, the new national ads feature a selection of real businesses of all ages and backgrounds who use Square’s technology.

Nine businesses to feature in the campaign. These are:

  • Chiswick bakery, Plum Duff which first opened its doors 45 years ago
  • Father and son duo Eastway Electrical providing electrician services across London
  • The Worker’s Cafe, a coffee shop come workspace for people without an office based in Dalston
  • Kent-based pottery ceramics and sculpture studio Clayspace
  • The Bus Cafe, based on the Margate seafront
  • The Laundry Room, a dry cleaner and tailor in north London
  • Farringdon-based Hunter Collective, a co-working salon, studio and event space for beauty and fashion professionals
  • Mahala, a creative homewares and accessories shop handcrafted from recycled military canvas and saddlery leather
  • Greenwich Training, a gym with branches in London and Suffolk

* Square commissioned a nationally representative survey of 1,204 microbusiness owners in the UK, conducted by Censuswide in 07 March to 21 March 2018

** Square commissioned a national representative survey of 1,202 microbusiness owners in the UK conducted by Censuswide during 15 August to 24 August 2017