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Business growth fuelled by investment in payment tech, says Conferma report
Thu, 21st Mar 2024

An investment in payments is crucial for businesses looking to expand and evolve, according to a recent independent research paper from Conferma. The Growth Ignition Index report, an illuminating exploration of what propels and inhibits business growth, comprised input from over 400 global financial decision-makers.

The report showcased that over half (59%) of the respondents saw a significant investment in new technology as a primary business concern. This technological ambit includes payment methods like virtual cards, with a striking 88% of respondents either already implementing these or considering their use to further organisational objectives and overcome challenges related to worldwide commerce.

The research also revealed other key drivers needed for businesses to expand their reach globally over the next five years: increasing customer demand (46%), improving cash flow (36%), and investing in digital transformation (34%).

Virtual payments, facilitated by companies like Conferma, form a fast-growing sector used for business expenses such as procurement and travel. Forecasts from Juniper Research predict that global virtual card transactions will increase astronomically, from USD $1.9 trillion in 2021 to USD $6.8 trillion in 2026.

Conferma's report further uncovered that 57% of businesses have invested substantially in payment capabilities over the past half-decade and that 88% are either using or exploring the use of virtual cards to align with strategic objectives.

Jason Lalor, CEO of Conferma, revealed, "Our findings show that businesses are very clear about how they need to grow, but in many cases face significant barriers based on both internal and external factors. We know that those who invest in technology and focus on digital transformation, do so with a clear purpose and not just to keep up."

"The investment in payment capabilities in particular is a reflection of the fact that growth is reliant on an expanding ecosystem of transactions, and that payments, wherever they happen, must be made as simple and efficient as possible."

Exploring the impact of payment technologies in more depth, the report showcased that more than half (54%) of respondents believed that instant payments would enhance efficiency and spur growth. Additionally, 43% argued that integrating new payment solutions into their existing systems would amplify gains, while 33% declared that both automated repeat purchases and zero-admin touchless payments would streamline operations.

Key benefits for businesses using virtual cards include heightened security and reduced risk of fraud (46%), as well as simplified cross-border payments (22%), aligning with their international expansion objectives. That's why 67% of such businesses are increasingly adopting virtual cards for payments, expanding the cards' application beyond mere supplies or repeat orders to broader B2B operations, including purchasing technology or equipment and paying for software.

Jason Lalor commented on this phenomenon further, stating that virtual cards offer an enticing solution to challenges crippling international growth. With advantages such as better security, simplified onboarding and supplier processes, and seamless cross-border transactions, businesses utilising virtual cards are more likely to undergo broader business transformation, paving the way towards achieving strategic business objectives.