by Hannah Lang
(Reuters) – Nearly a quarter of small businesses in nine countries around the world plan to accept digital currencies as payment in 2022, while 13% of consumers in those countries expect retail stores to start offering crypto payments this year and beyond. According to a survey conducted by Visa Inc.
The survey of 2,250 small business owners in nine countries including the United States, Brazil, Singapore and Canada suggests that cryptocurrencies may be beginning to shift into the mainstream as a payment method.
Visa also surveyed 1,000 adults in the United States, along with 500 adults from each of the nine countries.
“I think more people feel more confident with cryptocurrencies,” Jenny Mundy, Global Head of Merchant Sales and Acquisition at Visa, said in an interview.
Despite its growing popularity among retail and professional investors, cryptocurrencies are not widely used to pay for goods and services, in part due to frequent fluctuations in their value.
On Monday, Bitcoin plunged more than 5%, falling below the $40,000 level for the first time since September.
Small businesses outside North America are more open to accepting digital currencies, including Bitcoin, as forms of payment.
Visa has discovered that more than 30% of small business merchants in the UAE, Hong Kong, Singapore and Brazil plan to offer customers the option to pay with cryptocurrency in the coming months. Cryptocurrencies have taken off in each of those jurisdictions, despite different regulations.
In contrast, 19% of small businesses in the US and only 8% in Canada expect to offer crypto as a payment option in 2022.
Nearly three-quarters of companies surveyed around the world report that accepting new forms of payments is “key” to their business growth. Mundy said that for many smaller companies transitioning to new forms of digital payments, cryptocurrency adoption may be a natural progression.
They ask, “What other forms of payment can we take? What other forms should we consider?” She said.
Other countries surveyed include Germany, Ireland and Russia.
(Reporting by Hannah Lang in Washington; Editing by Matthew Lewis)