New Research Shows SMB Headaches Associated With Paper Checks Continues – Many Looking to Digital Payments to Solve Pains

June 5, 2018

PALO ALTO, CA, June 5, 2018 -, the leading U.S. business payments network today announced the results of a study on payment practices and attitudes among the SMB market conducted by Barlow Research Associates, Inc. The results indicate that most SMBs continue to make business payments by check, and they are met with a number of pain points that could be resolved if they switched to digital payments.

While consumer digital payment solutions have experienced fast and wide-spread adoption, the complex nature of business operations has resulted in a slower embrace of B2B electronic solutions. asked SMB owners to choose their top three payment methods, and paper checks came out on top at 86 percent. But digital payments are making inroads among the group, with over a quarter citing online payments as their preferred method of payment, and 16 percent selecting direct payment from a biller’s website.

“Small and mid-size businesses have traditionally made their business payments with paper checks, and crossing the chasm to digital has been difficult because of all of the other aspects of the business that are affected,” said Youa Yang, Digital Banking Program Director of Barlow Research Associates, Inc. “However, clinging to paper checks causes a number of headaches that can be alleviated with the adoption of digital solutions.”

While most SMB owners choose paper checks as their primary payment method, the study highlighted that there are a number of pain points experienced when making predominately paper-based payments. When asked about the top three pain points when paying vendors, 40 percent cited time spent on the bill payment, 27 percent human error and 26 percent tracking and storing the right information for tax preparation. Each can be easily alleviated with the adoption of digital business payments.

“We used to have a very manual process set in place for our billing. If we didn’t receive deliverables in time we’d have to conduct individual follow ups,” said Angela Tam, senior accountant at Khan Academy. “Since we automated our payments, we spend half the time we would have previously spent on the process - it’s incredible how much time we’ve gained back.”

A different set of pain points exists for getting paid by clients or customers. When asked about the three biggest pain points for the receivable side of the payments process, over half of respondents said chasing after customers who delay their payments is a frequent difficulty. SMB owners also noted the expense associated with receiving payments (23%) and the challenge associated with keeping track of all payments received (21%).

“SMBs’ business payment headaches all lead back to efficiency,” said Yang. “The survey results highlight that point.  It should open business owners’ eyes to the fact that digital business payments can be made as easily as the consumer payments they are making today.”

To see a slideshow of the survey, please visit the blog.

About Barlow Research Associates, Inc.

Barlow Research Associates, Inc. (BRAI) was founded in 1980 to provide research and consulting services to the financial services industry in the U.S. and globally. BRAI specializes in custom research, strategic consulting and syndicated research programs in small business, middle market and digital business banking. BRAI has a wide range of experience in many financial markets and knows the questions to ask and the issues to probe.

About is the leading business payments network with 3 million members processing over $50 billion per year in payment volume. partners with four of the top 10 largest U.S. banks, more than 60 of the top 100 accounting firms, major accounting software providers including Intuit, Xero, Netsuite and Intacct and is the preferred provider of digital payments solutions for, the technology arm of the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA). Recognized as one of San Francisco Business Times’ and Silicon Valley Business Journal’s “2018 Best Places to Work,” is headquartered in Palo Alto, California.  The company has $200M in funding with its most recent investors including Temasek and JP Morgan Chase.