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How to keep doing business without borders – post-pandemic and post-Brexit

Brexit may not dominate headlines like it once did. But everyday business needs to cope with the complexities of post-Brexit trade. Even if the politicians have forgotten, businesses need to decide how they’ll compete in national markets, meet import and export regulations, anticipate tariff changes, and handle fluctuating exchange rates. 

For a time, no conversation in the UK lasted long before the word “Brexit” was uttered. Regardless of whether you’d voted Leave or Remain, you couldn’t talk for more than five minutes without the topic coming up. 

And then COVID-19 arrived. And suddenly the pandemic was the news of the day, taking attention away from many issues Brexit had left unresolved.

Brexit’s impact

However, now that we’re (hopefully) emerging from the worst of the pandemic, we’re discovering that many Brexit issues haven’t simply gone away. The Trade and Cooperation Agreement completing the process was finally ratified by the European Parliament on April 28, 2021, bringing 4 years of tedious back and forth to an end. But where does that leave small businesses?

First the fundamentals:

  • No tariffs or quotas in the movement of goods. You can import and export goods at the same prices as before.

  • All goods have to satisfy the regulations of the target market, and there is no longer any guarantee that these will be the same. 

  • Over time, regulations are likely to drift apart, which will lead to more checks and paperwork when physical goods cross the EU border.

  • The EU border includes Northern Ireland, which remains part of the UK, creating potential challenges if the UK imports goods from third countries which are not accepted in the EU.

As business faced this new environment and puzzled over the impact, British exports to the EU fell by 47% in January-February and imports by 20%, far more than the declines for any other EU trading partner.

More subtly, the combined impact of Brexit and the pandemic aftermath is likely to have significant effects. On the other hand, the change in culture resulting from prolonged lockdown is accelerating demand for online goods, allowing flexible traders to break into new markets. Opportunities taken now to win new customers might pay off handsomely in the medium term.

An easier way to get paid

Accepting credit card payments for small businesses has always been desirable, but in the post-Brexit, post-pandemic world it has become essential. If you’re new to the world of cashless payments, it may be tricky to know where to start. That's where SumUp can help. We create simple, affordable payment solutions for businesses of all sizes. Here are just a few reasons to try one of our card readers:

  • They accept a huge range of payment options. Debit cards. Credit cards. Contactless payment. ApplePay. Google Pay. Your customers can use their preferred payment method, whatever that might be.

  • No monthly costs. Why should you pay a monthly merchant account fee for a card machine that isn’t in heavy use? You’ll only ever pay a small fee per transaction.

  • No binding contracts. Try one of our machines. If it suits you, you’ve taken a major step towards modernising your business. If you don’t like it, you need never pay another fee.

  • Get paid anywhere. Charge customers for orders or bookings placed remotely and accept their payments anywhere.

  • Easy, fast, secure. All card data is encrypted and protected, so there’s nothing to worry about but the sale. 

Doing business remotely

While in-person sales remain a cornerstone of many small businesses, the last year has seen a dramatic shift towards remote and online transactions. Luckily, SumUp can help you here too. Our other services include:

  • Payment Links that you can create with a click, and then send to customers via email, SMS, WhatsApp or any other messaging platform.

  • QR codes generated just as easily, which customers can scan with their phones for swift, contactless mobile payments. 

  • An online store that you can set up in minutes, where you can list out your products, complete with descriptions, images, and prices, all without having to know a thing about web design. 

Our remote payment products are all free to use. You only pay a small fee per transaction, just like with our card readers. Over 3 million businesses now rely on SumUp to get paid, regardless of whether the customers are in Britain, Germany or Brazil. The same technology works for everyone, making it the best way for small businesses to accept card payments.

The consequences of Brexit and the pandemic will be with us for some time. But while a lot is still uncertain, you can always count on SumUp to take care of your payment needs. 

SumUp Team