Vodeno, the leading Banking-as-a-Service provider, has conducted a survey of over 2,000 SMEs around Europe to assess their payment processing capabilities. The research found that 68% of respondents plan to adopt real-time payment processing within the next 12 months, while only one-in-ten can handle instant payments at present.

What’s more, almost a quarter (23%) say their cross-border growth has been limited due to payment pain points like delays. More than three-in-five (61%) say foreign exchange (FX) rates are a major drain on their business’ resources.

The study surveyed 2,004 senior decision-makers in SMEs across the UK (504), Belgium (500), France (500) and the Netherlands (500). The results are presented in a new report: Crossing Borders – Understanding the SME Payments Landscape.

The study found that 68% are planning to adopt real-time payment processing in the next 12 months.

At present, just 10% of SMEs said they receive payments instantly, and only 11% within an hour. By comparison, 35% said it takes between two and three days for a payment to reach their account, while 25% said the process takes approximately one day.

For almost a quarter (23%) of European SMEs, delays in making and receiving payments has been a hindrance to their international growth.

Vodeno’s research also found that 61% of companies are experiencing issues with foreign exchange rates, labelling them “a significant drain on resources”.

The majority (57%) of respondents said they are planning on switching their payment provider in the coming year. Speed and ease of payments (selected by 37% of SMEs), cost-effectiveness (35%), and security guarantees and compliance standards (29%) are the most important factors for choosing a payment rail.

Nikhil Sengupta, Global Sales Director of Vodeno, said: “Speed, ease and cost of payments is of utmost importance to SMEs, and our research underlines how high costs and lengthy delays in receiving payments are seriously hindering their day-to-day operations and growth plans.

“Instant payment processing is now on the radar for most of Europe’s SMEs, but the question is whether they can find the right partner to deliver this, efficiently without exorbitant fees.

“Today, there is greater choice for SMEs where payment processing is concerned, and BaaS providers are leading the charge to give access to faster payment options that are secure and cost efficient.”