How Digital Payments Have Helped SMBs Stay Afloat In Difficult Markets

January 18, 2023

In recent years the world has faced tough economic challenges. Not only are recession and inflation creeping up on the global economy, but war as well.

In a recent article by PYMNTS in collaboration with Payoneer, it was revealed exactly how in these uncertain times, digital payments have kept small businesses afloat

According to Allum, the digital payments modernization was “crucial” for small-and-medium businesses (SMBs) to prevail. These businesses are within Payoneer’s 44- country portfolio, and it includes Ukraine. There we can see how incredibly resilient small businesses can be in the long term, and just how they manage so.

There’s a stark difference between larger and smaller countries. For example, firms operating in countries like Germany often focus on their domestic markets, while small businesses in Eastern European countries such as Ukraine and Serbia often focus their attention on international markets first, and are often “ solving more complex problems with limited resources.”

You can have people operating out of their spare bedroom [while meeting] quite sophisticated needs around financial services [like] setting up multi currency accounts, for example,

However, according to PYMNTS and Payoneer, it would be a disservice to the global payments network to downplay its role in overcoming the payments disruption. According to director and acting country manager of Payoneer in Ukraine, Liubov Danylina, “companies leveraged Payoneer’s payment services to keep their businesses afloat last year.”

Over 4,000 Ukrainian businesses were surveyed, and it was found 70% have continued to operate during the crisis. Despite doubt and fear that they wouldn’t be able to maintain standard service levels, these businesses recovered quickly from the macroeconomic shock.

As customers use marketplaces and multiple eCommerce platforms to sell their products, their financial services needs are becoming more complex and demand for services around business-to-business (B2B) accounts receivables is fast-growing, Allum said

Allum then explained that, as a result, Payoneer had to expand to become more of a platform constantly working to meet the needs of their global customers, particularly in Eastern Europe and Ukraine, instead of a Fintech with only one purpose.

The need to hold multiple currencies is also imperative, as in the last 12 months many European countries’ local currencies have lost value compared to the U.S.
Dollar.

Here too, Payoneer has helped Eastern European customers set up accounts in other countries to repatriate foreign income and hold currencies in U.S. dollars until they need to repatriate it. They’re [now] able to have their own hedging strategies rather than be at the mercy of an instant exchange rate…They’ve become fairly sophisticated financial controllers and treasury managers even if that’s not their background [or area of expertise].

According to Allum, freelancing and IT services remain hyper growth sectors that Payoneer continues to support in the Ukraine. This is done through partnerships with trade associations and major local banks,

Looking Ahead

Assisting with money for future operations is also a way Payoneer has helped keep SMBs afloat, giving them room to hire new employees or even advertise.

FinTechs are able to move faster than traditional finance [players]…and in this crisis Fintechs have really helped businesses in central Eastern Europe [...] to continue providing services to their customers.

SMBs are more forward thinking with their business strategies, and how they are building a lasting partnership for years to come.  

“We’re not here just for the current transaction, but the transactions for years to come. That’s where a lot of our conversations are now — how can we help you [as a business], not just today, but in years to come?

The modernization of digital payments continues to show flexibility and new uses with each challenge. 

Want to learn more? Check out PYMNT’s full write-up here.

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