Banks block e-commerce for small firms

In addition the survey concluded lower call charges are a priority for businesses expecting to increase their use of the internet.

Richard Baron, deputy head of the policy unit at the institute, said: ‘The IoD’s members are increasingly aware of the importance of e-commerce. We must work to ensure that everyone is fully aware, and to remove the obstacles preventing British business from taking full advantage of the opportunities.’

Of the 615 company directors surveyed by the IoD, only 35% of those firms with websites allowed customers to use them to place orders.

The IoD concludes the obstacle to more firms offering payment facilities on a website is the difficulty they encounter when making arrangements with banks for payment.

Different rules apply when a credit card user is not present at the moment of transaction, but, according to the IoD the banks are waiting for the rules to be clarified before they go ahead setting up more facilities for business.

Baron said: ‘This is proving to be a major impediment to the development of e-commerce in the UK, while the United States forges ahead. The institute has been pressing for rapid progress on this issue, and will continue to do so.’

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