Small business owners are more optimistic than they have been in a year according to the latest Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index.

The bounce in optimism benefited largely from small business owners feeling better about their cash flow, with 60% saying their cash flow was very or somewhat good over the past 12 months.

The survey also found that 66% of business owners expect their cash flow to be very or somewhat good in the next 12 months, compared to 63% in November.

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Payment Trends

When asked about payment technology, 48% have upgraded to accept EMV chip-enabled debit and credit cards, up from 31% in August 2015.

Among those who have yet to upgrade, 22% plan to do so in the next 6 months; 14% within next 12 months; 20% never plan to upgrade.

Cash (and check) remain king as most common form of payment accepted (84%).

Only 5% accept payments in person via a digital wallet such as Apple Pay or Android Pay, 11% plan to do so in next 12 months

Technology Trends

Of those surveyed, 51% use mobile device to conduct banking related to their business.

Most commonly used for checking account balances (38%); mobile deposits (21%); paying bills (13%); transferring funds (12%); monitoring out-of-pattern transactions or fraud (12%).

Challenges

When asked to identify the most important challenge facing their business, 14% cited attracting customers and finding new business as the top concern.

Other top concerns included the economy (11%); hiring and retaining quality staff (11%); and government regulations (9%).