Over 80% of SMEs Seek Alternatives to Traditional Banks for Payments

Over 80% of SMEs Seek Alternatives to Traditional Banks for Payments

by October 25, 2023

A new survey by Airwallex and consultancy Edgar, Dunn & Company has revealed surging demand for cloud-based financial services among small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), with more than 80% looking to switch away from traditional banks for their payment needs.

The survey found that SMEs are unhappy with the traditional banking experience, with 82% feeling overlooked by banks and saying they would change their current banking provider if their existing software platform or marketplace offered a like-for-like alternative.

One of the biggest pain points for SMEs is cross-border payments. 45% of SMEs globally experience lengthy processing and settlement times, while 41% say forced currency conversion leading to high transaction fees is a problem.

SMEs are also finding it difficult to pay out funds to vendors, suppliers and employees, with 48% experiencing delays in processing and disbursing payments.

The survey found that SMEs are increasingly looking to software platforms or marketplaces to provide them with financial services. 77% of global SMEs are either undecided or actively considering moving to a new payment solution provider, and 64% believe software platforms or marketplaces that offer embedded financial services can better serve them.

The report highlights that SMEs are in search of streamlined solutions tailored to the specific needs of their industry. 76% of SMEs would be prepared to pay more to work with a one-stop-shop provider that can support their financial and other needs as they grow their international business.

The findings of the survey suggest that there is a clear opportunity for software platforms or marketplaces to better serve SME customers and create new revenue streams by offering embedded financial services, particularly when it comes to global money movement and payments.

Shannon Scott

Shannon Scott

Shannon Scott, SVP, Global Head of Product, Airwallex said,

“Seamless cross-border payments are essential for digital-first SMBs (small and medium-sized businesses), but our research highlights that these businesses think banks are missing the mark by not offering the right solutions to support their global ambitions.


Software platforms and marketplaces are well-placed to fill this gap because they have closer relationships with their customers and understand the nuances of their industries.”