SMEs satisfied with COVID banking support

Three times as many SMEs have been “satisfied” than “dissatisfied” with the COVID-19 support available from their bank or building society, according to YouGov research commissioned by the Current Account Switch Service (CASS).

Overall, four-in-ten SMEs (38 per cent) were satisfied with the support they received from their business current account provider since the pandemic began. This contrasts with about one-in-ten SMEs (13 per cent) who were dissatisfied.

In general, among the 2,000 SMEs questioned, more than half of them (55 per cent) are satisfied with their current business bank account, compared to 8 per cent who are dissatisfied.

However, “inertia remains a problem”, said CASS, as half of SMEs (50 per cent) said they would not look to switch business accounts even if they were dissatisfied with their current bank or building society.

When SMEs do look to switch, low or no charges for business banking remains the most important factor (47 per cent) in selecting a new account.

Advanced digital features (35 per cent), good interest rates (34 per cent) and a personal connection through a relationship manager (33 per cent) also mattered.

The research was conducted both in February and in September 2020.

It reveals that since the start of the pandemic, the proportion of SMEs using business current accounts has increased from 69 per cent in February to 74 per cent in September.

As firms are required to have a business account to receive access to government-backed lending schemes during the pandemic, this may have played a factor in this increase

However, one-in-five SMEs (20 per cent) still use a personal current account for their business banking needs, “despite the risk that tax liabilities get confused and calculations are made incorrectly”, said CASS.

Maha El Dimachki, chief payments officer of Pay.UK, owner and operator of the Current Account Switch Service, said: “It’s encouraging to see many small businesses are generally satisfied with their business bank accounts. However, even when businesses are unhappy with their bank, some don’t consider switching as an option, despite the many benefits available.

“We’ll continue to raise awareness of the benefits of switching among small businesses to help them get the most from their bank account.”

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