Italians Ready For Payment Change

A study by the Istituto per gli Studi sulla Pubblica Opinione (ISPO) has revealed that Italians are big users of electronic money and are now ready for mobile payments. The study surveyed the national adult population and uncovered that 62% use payment cards – with 79% owning some type of payment card – and 19% are willing to use mobile payments in the future. Those who are in favor of mobile payments are mainly young adults and students.

The study also revealed that Italians remain fairly attached to cash, with 21% of those surveyed using cash as a payment method exclusively. Those who prefer cash are mostly the older categories of the population – over 65s (35%) and the retired (30%) – as well as those with very little education (44%). However, some Italians are ready to leave cash altogether with 30% ready to abandon cash in favor of electronic payments.

“Our research has confirmed that new generation payments represent an important driver for the country system and can contribute to making up Italy’s gap at European level,” commented Massimo Arrighetti, CEO of SIA. “When we talk about payments, what emerges is a three-speed Italy – that of cash, of cards and of mobile payments, which calls for a series of specific actions. The young, with their desire for innovation, represent the future where the dominant instrument will increasingly be the mobile phone, which adds to and integrates with payment cards. It is therefore imperative to identify the actions needed to promote the use of electronic payments and speed up the process already underway.”

The report is accompanied by the recent news that Vodafone Italy will be launching NFC payment services in 2013. For the moment the mobile network provider is going to trial its Smart Pass NFC in Milan in mid-October. The service is developed in collaboration with Maestro and Mastercard and will allow customers to make contactless payments with smartphones equipped with NFC technology. The smartphone solution will be integrated with Vodafone Smart Pass, a prepaid card launched in January 2012, which allows customers to make contactless payments. Customers will be able to make payments in over 10,000 MasterCard Paypass POS terminals, with that number expecting to grow to 150,000 by the end of 2013.

With favorable opinions of electronic money and mobile payments and the launch of a mobile payment solution, it seems Italy is on the road to make changes to its payments landscape.

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