In aumento i pagamenti digitali in Italia. Ma la strada è ancora lunga thumbnail

Digital payments are increasing in Italy. But the road is still long

If abandoning cash would have positive repercussions on the traceability of operations, the pandemic has taught us something more. That is, the progressive shift towards a cashless society would also bring non-trivial advantages from a hygiene point of view.

Ma At what point are we, in our country, with the habit of digital payments? Is Italy abandoning cash? Yes, no, almost. What emerges from the ninth edition of the Report Towards a Cashless Italy is a controversial outcome. Use cases and role of citizens, businesses and merchants.

The report, edited by the Community Cashless Society of The European House-Ambrosetti, was presented at a forum in Cernobbio on Thursday 4 April. Let's see the results in summary.

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Digital payments in Italy: the report

The ninth edition of the report Towards a cashless Italy involved a sample of 1,000 citizens, 500 merchants and 500 companies.

And the objective of the investigation is reported at the beginning of the summary document: “Strengthen the dialogue and relationships between the players in the payments industry, the business and industrial community and the institutional one and produce knowledge and proposals to promote the Cashless Society as an opportunity for growth and modernization of the country system”.

So, where are we in Italy with digital payments?

The difficulty of abandoning cash

The results of the report are, as we were saying, bittersweet.

First of all, it is underlined that also in 2024 Italy is confirmed in the Cash intensity index, the indicator that measures dependence on cash, among the 30 worst economies with the highest incidence of cash.

However, our country has gained four positions in another index, which this time monitors the development of digital payments (the Cashless society index), and placed twenty-first, the highest ever.

The push towards cashless

If our Cashless society index is rising, the credit goes to the improvement of connectivity, the progress in the values ​​transacted and the cashless habit of Italians. Italy's development speed has doubled in the last year, reaching values ​​in line with the European average.

We read that “the factors driving the growth of digital payments see e-commerce in first place, with over 1 in 2 Italians stating that they have used the online channel more in the last year for their purchases; followed by P2P payments, which today represent the preferred channel – only after credit/debit cards – for 1 in 2 Italians to make online payments while Buy Now.”

Italians and digital payments

The report highlights that, for the third consecutive year, over 70% of Italians want to increase the use of cashless.

Around 3 in 5 Italians report having increased the use of cashless payments compared to the previous year, and over 1 in 2 Italians say they intend to reduce the use of cash in the coming years. 3 out of 5 Italians choose to use cashless mainly for speed and convenience.

From the investigation it emerges how the population between 18 and 24 years old is the one that uses cashless payments most often with a frequency of 63.4% during the year.

However, over 7 out of 10 Italians are not aware of the greater sustainability of cashless compared to cash, measurable through lower CO2 emissions (-21% per single transaction).

Digital payments in Italy and companies

Of the 500 companies involved in the survey, 45.9% believe they have a medium-high or high level of digital maturity, but for 7 out of 10 companies digitalisation is limited to the management of customers and suppliers. AND just over one in 3 companies uses the digital channel even for more strategic activities such as customer profiling and digital marketing.

And so less than one company in 2 (45.8%) invests less than 1% of its turnover in digitalisation, a value that rises to over 7 companies out of 10 (71.4%) if we consider those who invest less than 5%. To confirm this, only one company in 4 (25.6% of the total) is experimenting with innovative digital solutions.

The comment

Valerio De Molli, Managing Partner and CEO of The European House-Ambrosetti, expressed his opinion on the report Towards a cashless Italy.

De Molli said: “The results of the 2024 edition of the Report provide a snapshot of a two-speed Italy: if, on the one hand, almost 80% of Generation Z uses cashless payments, on the other, a certain attitude towards the use of cash remains, especially among the over 60 population and in some geographical areas of the country such as Southern Italy. The reasons also include cultural biases that see digital as a greater risk of fraud.

However, we are moving towards an increasingly cashless societyan approach that also has the advantage of being sustainable since the environmental impact of a cashless transaction is 21% lower than a cash one.

And on the other hand, the debate on the Central Bank Digital Currency is now open, a new form of digital currency issued by Central Banks to simplify digital transactions and transfers. By 2023, 130 countries are considering the launch of their own digital currency, with the EU having proposed introducing a Digital Euro to accompany cash by leveraging integration with digital identity. In short, the process has begun and society as a whole will benefit from it.”

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Walker Ronnie is a tech writer who keeps you informed on the latest developments in the world of technology. With a keen interest in all things tech-related, Walker shares insights and updates on new gadgets, innovative advancements, and digital trends. Stay connected with Walker to stay ahead in the ever-evolving world of technology.