Most small business owners are satisfied with how their banks handled COVID

Changes made by big banks during the pandemic have had a major impact on satisfaction ratings.
Written by Evan Zimmer, Staff Writer

J.D. Power published its U.S. Merchant Satisfaction study last week, which showed small business owners are more satisfied with their merchant services providers now than in 2021. Bank of America and Chase lead the way with a 45-point and 35-point increase in satisfaction respectively.

According to the study, a greater emphasis on transparency around fee structures, improved customer support, business owners receiving faster payments, and how banks responded to COVID-related challenges fueled the increase.

Bank of America had a merchant satisfaction score of 894, and Chase scored 879. Square was close behind with 878. The highest possible score is 1000.

J.D. Power found that changes made by the banks during the pandemic resulted in greater trust from small business owners. 73% of business owners said they are aware of at least one change made by banks due to COVID-related challenges, which led to a 71-point increase in satisfaction ratings.

Additionally, the study revealed that, with a better understanding of how payment processing fees work, small business owners saw a 33-point increase in overall satisfaction. Positive customer service interactions resulted in a 32-point increase, and 34% of small business owners reported getting paid quicker.

"The past couple of years have been very challenging for most small businesses, but industry-wide efforts to simplify payment processing fee structures, ramp up customer support and speed up payments have had positive effects on merchant services satisfaction," said Paul McAdam, senior director of banking and payments intelligence at J.D. Power.

The increase of digital customers during the pandemic has made banks put a greater emphasis on financial wellness programs to help increase customer financial literacy. As a result, customers have a better understanding of how systems work which has led to greater satisfaction.

As pandemic-related restrictions lessen and consumer spending increases, it'll be interesting to see if banks continue to create initiatives like we've seen over the pandemic in order to maintain these high satisfaction levels.

The J.D. Power study is based on responses from 4,406 small business customers of merchant services providers. The study was fielded in September-October 2021.

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