Small business owners look like they’re embracing new technologies when it comes to the types of payments their businesses will accept, allowing more in-person credit and debit card payments using point-of-sale terminals.

According to the latest Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index conducted in early October, 39% of business owners now accept credit or debit card payment, up from 31% in January 2016.  Also, 33% accept credit or debit card payments via a mobile point-of-sale terminal, up from 20% in January 2016. Twelve percent of business owners said they accept digital wallet payments, compared to 5% in January 2016. Still, the top form of accepted payments, at 88%, is in-person cash or check, followed by a mailed check at 82%.

The survey found optimism is still high—at 103 in October from 106 in July, when it was the highest reading in a decade. Seventy-one percent of respondents said their financial situation was very or somewhat good in October. Businesses have been buttressed by steady revenues, healthy cash flow and a relative ease of obtaining credit.

Hiring and retaining quality staff members remains the top challenge of small business owners, according to Wells Fargo/Gallup. Sixteen percent of owners said hiring was their biggest issue, up from 13% during the prior quarter. Thirty-two percent of owners reported their plans to increase the number of jobs at their businesses next year, marking the second highest percentage in the 14-year history of the survey.

“Hiring the workers they need has clearly become a more pressing issue for small business owners,” said Mark Vitner, senior economist at Wells Fargo. “Labor markets have tightened around the country and many workers that had been employed part-time have moved on to full-time positions, making it particularly difficult to fill these positions right now.”

Courtesy of National Association of Credit Management (NACM) – Nicholas Stern, Managing Editor