Digital payments are now a part of everyday life with the global market projected to soar to $5.8 billion by 2030, according to a Deloitte report.
In Ireland, the digital payments market is projected to achieve a total transaction value of US$17.95 billion by the end of 2023 and an annual growth rate of 12.80% between now and 2027.
The Irish Examiner also recently reported 83% of Irish people aged 16 or over prefer contactless payments over using cash. In 2023, €51m worth of transactions were processed daily nationwide, with an average value of €17.05 per payment. Online and mobile banking payments also rose by 6.2% year on year, reaching €36.4 million in the first quarter.
As a result of so many people adopting digital payments, Ireland now ranks among the top four European nations who are leading the revolution, according to the European Central Bank.
But despite this nationwide adoption, many businesses and finance managers in Ireland are lagging behind and clinging to traditional methods that are not only outdated but less efficient.
53% of Irish Businesses Haven’t Embraced Digital Payments
47% of Irish businesses say they intend on embracing the digital payments revolution and going fully cashless over the next 10 years. That leaves a large portion who have not yet realised the benefits of switching to a digital-first approach.
Businesses who are left behind are still using old-fashioned expense systems where employees have to manually submit claims, causing delays in reimbursements, and adding unnecessary administrative burdens. While others are still relying on plastic credit cards, which presents a huge amount of potential security dilemmas if they are stolen or mislaid.
As businesses continue with these outdated methods, the hassles and dilemmas will continue to persist.
What’s Driving the Digital Payments Revolution?
Firstly, the convenience and speed of digital payments have made them a preferred method of payment for consumers, particularly among younger generations.
Secondly, the increasing digitisation of businesses has led to a growing demand for digital payment solutions that can streamline transactions and reduce costs.
Thirdly, the rise of e-commerce and online marketplaces has increased the need for secure and efficient payment systems that can facilitate cross-border transactions.
Why Businesses Should Adopt Digital Payments in the Workplace
By adopting digital payments in the workplace, business owners reap many benefits, such as reduced administrative burden, tax-efficiency, easy distribution, convenience and high employee productivity. Here’s how!
Digital payments enable smart business expense management
Digital payments give businesses complete control over expenses. By switching over to online platforms such as CleverCards, businesses can issue digital Mastercards cards to employees instantly, track spend in real-time, and automate spend reconciliation and month-end reporting.
Digital payments streamlines employee allowance payouts
Businesses can replace complicated employee allowance processes with the instant, online distribution of digital payment cards. These cards can be configured to work for specific spend categories such as fuel, meals, travel, per diem allowances and more. Allowances can also be managed remotely and instantly. For example, with CleverCards, you can simply top-up and track card allowances instantly from anywhere using the employer portal.
Digital payments allow for tax-free employee gifting
Another way that digital payments are transforming the Irish workplace is by offering tax efficiency for both employers and employees. In particular, the market for prepaid digital gift cards in Ireland is expanding rapidly as a result of the Small Benefit Exemption scheme enabling employers to give all employees up to tax-free €1,000 per annum!
The IRF recently found that employees (especially those working remotely or hybrid remotely) ranked a digital prepaid gift card as the number one reward or gift they’d like to receive from their employer, above an additional day off, a weekend away for two, and even the option to receive a luxury gift.
Digital payments can be instantly distributed and controlled online
As well as being tax-free, adopting digital payments eliminates the need for finance or HR managers to spend hours upon hours ordering and distributing physical cards. This is particularly impactful for medium to large-sized companies or those with remote employees, ensuring instant, online distribution of rewards and gifts. Digital cards also offer greater security and control, as they can be easily managed and monitored from an online portal.
Digital payments can be spent anywhere in the world
One of the biggest reasons why employees are loving digital gift cards so much these days is because they can be spent literally anywhere in the world that accepts digital payments. They can also be easily added to Apple/Google mobile wallets meaning there are no tap limits. It’s a small but convenient feature that all adds up to an easier experience for the end-user.
Knowing When to Switch to Digital Payments
Unfortunately, many businesses are not yet reaping all of the wonderful benefits of digital payments, but we are hopeful that this trend will improve. If you’re unsure if it’s the right time to switch to digital payments, our recent article on the five signs it's time to switch to digital employee benefits might help.
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