More than half of all SMEs in the UK are without a high-speed internet connection, according to a new survey.

About 59 per cent of SMEs said they do not have the internet speeds needed to increase their output but only nine per cent said they plan to invest in better access in the near future, business switching service Bionic found.

The firm's business efficiency index also found just one in five UK SMEs have a mobile card reader, with the same amount using e-commerce channels to sell goods and services.

Paul Galligan, chief executive of Bionic, said: "Up and down the country, the majority of SMEs are yet to harness the power of technology to turbocharge their business.

"We live in an internet age but the backbone of the UK economy is still being supported by copper connections and cash - rather than fibre and contactless.

"The upside is that UK SMEs have a huge amount of open road to run into and can access a digital dividend by making small changes and the support of key partners."

Digital payments are a major route for businesses to grow, the report found, with around 1.5 billion digital transactions a month.

Just 20 per cent of spending in the UK now done with cash - despite nearly 4.5 million SMEs unable to process contactless and digital cards, the report added.

The research also uncovered that 61 per cent of SMEs have not reviewed their current telecoms contract in the past year, with 38 per cent not investigating upgrades or changes for at least three years.