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As small businesses struggle to combat rising inflation and the looming threat of recession, community bankers have an opportunity to strengthen and expand their relationships with their customers through merchant acquirers and their fintech providers. With key tools, experience and knowledge, these partnerships can boost the bank’s status with their business customers and generate revenue by offering new services.

Unfortunately, many banks do not know the benefits they can gain with a successful merchant services partnership. Their business customers may not know that their bank offers payment solutions nor understand the benefits of getting customized services all in one place. The right partnership brings the best in technologies, improved customer services and faster implementation, with real-time payments. These proven solutions are reliable and ought to come with a friendly, dedicated team to reassure, stabilize and advance the goals of banks and their business customers.

In the best of times, the most organized business owners struggle to keep on top of cash flow and to establish clear, easy and transparent systems they can use to keep their operation running smoothly. But today, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, as food and energy prices shoot through the roof and many people feel the pinch, those best intentions may not be enough.

According to the US Chamber of Commerce, “The vast majority (85%) of small business owners are concerned about the impact of inflation…”.1 Hard times are no joke, and fear can have deleterious effects on small businesses and their passionate owners. They are dealing with rising prices and high energy costs, potentially looking at layoffs and dealing with supply chain shortages. Add rising interest rates to the mix, and some businesses may be ready to throw in the towel.

To help with current circumstances, banks might consider entering a partnership or reviewing their existing partnership with a payments and technology company. This trusted relationship between a bank like yours and a payments solutions company bolsters confidence with your business customers by offering more concrete benefits that increase your customer retention, market penetration and revenue.

In fact, there is so much momentum behind fintech solutions today that it’s important for banks to know what to look for when shopping for a partner and to find out what exactly is available. A good partner needs to help not only with a broad array of payment solutions, but the right fintech providers must also align with the culture of your bank and bring out the most in your vision to take your small business clients to the next level in their business journeys.

Within the shift from paper to digital, fintech companies are helping banks become agile and able to deliver value to their customers faster with fewer headaches. The benefits are only made clearer when a banker understands the significant time and cost savings available to get cash flowing with simple tools in the face of rising inflation in our turbulent economy.

Fintech companies help make banks faster, competitive and more accessible to small businesses

The power in a partnership with a payments solutions and technology company is twofold. Banks work with a dedicated development team that builds innovative and secure payment processing solutions with a focus on growth and increased profitability. As the community bank develops its next steps, it sits poised and ready to help their small business customers grow and do the same.

With a smart, data-driven, results-oriented approach, banks can take advantage of tailored and effective joint lead-generation campaigns and programs by working with partner sales teams. Comprehensive support includes expedient onboarding, end-to-end lead tracking, customer outreach and ROI measurement.

Banks can offer opportunity and assurance to small businesses by providing payment processing solutions that are easy to use and allows business owners to focus on their core operations and make sound decisions with confidence.

Seek out the best of the best – a partner that helps your bank offer value-added solutions to ease the hits of inflation

Because of the issues brought on by inflation, which can disrupt cash flow, banks and their business customers need an innovative partner that can provide revenue generating solutions while helping to reduce payment acceptance costs. The following are ways that your business customer can increase efficiencies, cut costs, and continue to grow during turbulent economic times.

1. Commercial card optimization

Commercial card optimization software automatically enhances and populates transaction data needed to authorize commercial card payments. This additional data enables business customers to qualify for lower interchange rates and can translate to significant savings each year.

2. True Daily Funding

One study found that “82% of businesses fail due to cash flow issues.”2 When cash flow is vital to every business, you and your business customers expect – and count on – prompt funding to help meet all their needs. A bank can step up and help to mitigate the effects of a turbulent economy by offering fast funding solutions for their business customers.

3. Contactless payments

Contactless payments continue to be the future of payments. Tapping is quick and easy, safer, and more secure than other forms of payment. It acts as a sort of cash-replacement strategy, solving the problem of carrying cash around. For customers, contactless tap-and-go cards, mobile wallets, in-app payments, mobile orders and online payments for curbside pickup or delivery all allow for quick and easy checkouts. These speedy transactions get customers on their way faster, increasing customer retention for your business customers leading to increased revenue.

Do your homework, and choose wisely

Choosing a payments solutions partner is a major decision – you need a company with expertise in technology and payments so you can focus on your core business. A dedicated support team will make sure your team is more than just a number and that your business customers are also well-cared for on your behalf.

Another important but overlooked component is cultural alignment. A strong partner today would be a leader in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives. Look for a partner who is committed to advancing all people regardless of age, race, gender or sexual orientation and is not shy about promoting an inclusive environment within their organization and the communities they serve. An inclusive work environment creates dedicated employees who stay longer and can develop a stronger relationship with those accounts they service. With the ups and downs of the pandemic, one hopes it has become clearer that the economy is stronger because of the rich differences and shared experiences of all who come to your table.

Enter Elavon

By its nature, the economy is an entity that fluctuates based on a myriad of competing factors and interests. And inflation is a phenomenon within the economy that speeds this up or slows the effects, sometimes for years. Small businesses do not always have the financial flexibility to manage economic fluctuation, and as available government aid and support runs out, many are feeling less optimistic. Only “12% of businesses expect the economy to improve and another 28% said they believed the conditions would stay about the same.3”

As business customers deal with the complex issues spurred on by rising inflation and world events, they need their bank to offer customized solutions that fit their needs. By providing a comprehensive set of business services, from checking to payment processing, the bank is better able to help their business customers get to the next level in this turbulent post-pandemic economy.

Elavon enters the picture as an experienced and innovative payments solutions company that enables financial institutions to grow revenue and provide additional value to their customers. We seek to understand your bank's values and core beliefs and provide support for your efforts to help your community, employees, and clients.

Elavon offers expertise in services, retail, restaurant, hospitality, healthcare, public sector, golf, automotive and many verticals — ready to bring bank partners up to speed on the latest payments technology and open vast, new opportunities.

Learn more about how a partnership with Elavon can help your financial institution during turbulent times of inflation.

Visit our website or reach out to one of our business development representatives today to discuss services and solutions for your brand.

1 - Small Business Owners Are Feeling the Impact of Inflation, Yet Remain Optimistic | U.S. Chamber of Commerce (**

2 - 4 Reasons Why Cash Flow is Important to a Small Business (**

3 - Most small business owners fear US economy will worsen over next year (**

** By selecting this link, you will leave Elavon content and enter a third-party website. Elavon is not responsible for the content of, or products and services provided by this third party, nor does it guarantee the system availability or accuracy of information contained in the site. This website is not controlled by Elavon. Please note that the third-party website may have privacy and information security policies that differ from those of Elavon.

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