AA moves into card payments market for SMEs

  • Cash a thing of the past for 62% of UK SMEs 
  • Mounting SME concern on pricing and charges
  • AA partners with EVO Payments International, a leading card payment acquirer and payment service provider

The AA launches into the card payments market today to help the 61% of SMEs that are reliant on card terminals but experience problems, and the 26% that have difficulty managing payments with cash.

The AA’s move comes at a time when 17% of SMEs say cash now represents less than 10% of their predicted sales for the next six months.  The growing disconnection with cash is reinforced by a new consumer poll for the AA which reveals that a staggering 83% of consumers are unable to recall which famous person is featured on the back of a £20 note.

Nationally, the AA will help small business owners to secure a better deal at a time when few SMEs can operate without a card payment terminal but frequently question the service they get.

New nationwide YouGov research* reveals that whilst 28% of small businesses accept point of sale payments, many SMEs experience a range of frustrations with their card terminals:

  • 25% of UK small businesses say that set up costs are too high, rising to 42% in the hospitality and leisure sector, and 29% in the retail sector. Hidden costs in these sectors were also an issue for one in four SMEs in the retail sector (24%) and hospitality and leisure sector (26%). This was particularly an issue for businesses that were scaling back over the next three months (31%).
  • One in five SMEs (20%) mentioned poor Internet connection impeding their ability to take more card payments at peak business times. This comes at a time when the Government is planning to launch a £400 million fund to attract investment in full fibre broadband to boost the UK’s digital infrastructure.
  • A third of respondents in the hospitality and leisure sector (29%) complained about the perceived unreliability of their payment terminals and poor levels of support from engineers (7%). Similarly, 31% of the retail sector were affected by their card machines malfunctioning in the past 12 months.

The AA has partnered with EVO Payments International, a leading card payment acquirer and payment service provider operating throughout North America and Europe. The shared goal is to offer UK businesses a better deal based on transparent pricing, value for money, and excellent customer service. The UK launch follows EVO’s success in Ireland where in two years it has become the fastest growing business payments provider.

Small businesses can find out more about Card Pay by calling a specialist SME call centre team on 0800 085 3861 or visiting the website at www.cardpayaa.com

David Searle, Director of AA Financial Services commented: “With around one in five AA members running a small business, we have for some time been looking at what we can do to help, particularly given the current economic climate. The launch of Card Pay from the AA is the logical first step for small businesses that operate in an increasingly cashless society and are looking for ways to keep running costs under control.

“From roadside emergencies to home insurance and savings, the AA has always been trusted to stand by the consumer’s side, whatever happens, and campaign for a better deal. Our partnership with EVO allows us to become a force for change in the UK card payments market, to bring greater simplicity, trust, and fairness for our members – which is at the heart of everything we do. UK small businesses are the bedrock of the country’s economic confidence. The challenges many SMEs have with payment terminals, often relating to opaque pricing tariffs and surprise add-ons, need to be put right and the status quo needs to be disrupted.

Darren Wilson, President – International, EVO Payments International added: “We’re delighted to be partnering with one of the most trusted brands in the UK. With card payments as the dominant form of payment for SMEs, it is really important that business owners shop around for the right deal.  Card Pay from the AA will help small businesses ask the right questions, and we will bring to the market fixed-priced solutions that will set the standard for transparency, value, and simplicity.”

* Further research is available on request. Unless otherwise specified, the research was conducted for Card Pay from the AA by YouGov from 7-14 July 2017. The research is nationally representative. The SME survey was among a sample of 1,122 respondents; the consumer poll among 2,011 adults.

** YouGov consumer study among 2011 people from 7-14 July 2017


EVO Payments International is a leading payments service provider of merchant acquiring and processing solutions for merchants, financial institutions, Independent Software Vendors (ISVs), Independent Sales Organizations (ISOs), government organizations and multinational corporations located throughout North America and Europe. A principal member of Visa and MasterCard, EVO offers an array of innovative, reliable and secure payments solutions and merchant services, backed by an uncompromising commitment to exceed the expectations of our customers and partners. Please visit www.EVOpayments.com for more information.