Post-Covid surge in business start-ups fuels mobile payments: CommBank

Post-Covid surge in business start-ups fuels mobile payments: CommBank

Post-Covid surge in business start-ups fuels mobile payments: CommBank

Research released today by the Commonwealth Bank of Australia shows one in three Australians have started a small business or ‘side hustle’ since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic or plan to start one in the next 12 months.

Of those surveyed, 9% of these entrepreneurs started a business between March 2020 and January 2022, while almost twice as many (16%) have started trading in the past 12 months, highlighting sustained entrepreneurial activity among Australians since the Covid pandemic.

Australian Bureau of Statistics data also shows new business entries increased 19.7% in the 2022 financial year – significantly higher than average – reflecting workplace changes during Covid and hobbies morphing into side hustles, as well as opportunities in sectors struggling with labour shortages.

The findings coincide with the launch of a new CBA portable payments device, Smart Mini, to cater to the growing need for portable payment devices amongst small businesses who need to take payments on the go, such as tradies, gardeners and market stall operators.

The study, conducted in partnership with YouGov, looked at Australians’ attitudes towards opening a small business or ‘side hustle’ and what payment methods are important to them. The research revealed almost 9 in 10 (87%) of those surveyed who have started a business since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic or plan to start one in the next 12 months, regard the ability to accept payments on the go in their small business or side hustle as important – while four in five people have concerns around the speed of settlement and/or security of non-cash payments.

CBA’s internal data underscores this demand with 109,500 new business transaction accounts opened in 1H23 – equating to 4,200 a week. Some of the highest growth of new BTAs are in those sectors that are more likely to need a portable payment device, including those in gardening (19%), plumbing (11%) as well as painting (9%). CBA also saw 16,100 new merchant facilities opened in 1H23 – a 31% jump.

Commonwealth Bank’s Group Executive for Business Banking, Mike Vacy-Lyle, said, “The continued growth in new transaction account openings from small businesses shows an increasing number of Australians who are willing to open a small business, and this is also driving a growing need for mobile payments.

“From speaking to customers, it is clear that the ability to take payments on the go is now a key requirement. Smart Mini meets this need with seamless and secure integration of mobile payments with their main transaction account, saving valuable time in managing multiple accounts.

“Smart Mini will help those business owners start, run or grow, no matter where they are in their business journey. Coupled with the industry-leading 1.1% flat rate transaction fee3, Smart Mini will help businesses pay less each time their customer pays.”

Commonwealth Bank’s General Manager of Merchant Solutions, Karen Last, said Smart Mini is available to all merchants regardless of whether they are currently CBA customers, “The launch of Smart Mini expands CBA’s range of payment solutions designed specifically for industries as diverse as retail and hospitality, and for a wide range of businesses, including micro and sole traders.

“Compatible with both Apple and Android devices, it can be connected to CBA’s Smart Mini Hub, a self-servicing portal, allowing business owners to access a range of features and near real-time transaction insights relating to their business, enabling them to better manage their cash flow.

“With our survey highlighting widespread concern around the speed of settlement and security of mobile payments, we think CBA’s same day settlement of payments and our robust anti-fraud technology will be significant attractions for Smart Mini customers.”