The Italian Country Report 2020 is a comprehensive overview of the cards, payments and consumer banking market in Italy, with clearsighted commentary backed by relevant data.
Cash stubbornly remains the primary payment method, yet initiatives continue to be put in place to encourage the uptake of digital payments.
A regulation mandating merchants to accept card payments for transactions above $34 was introduced in 2014, but, lacking penalties, many merchants were unmoved.
Sanctions were set in 2020, which should improve compliance. If successful, there is enormous scope to develop the revolving cards market – both for charge card issuers to expand into revolving cards and for current revolving card issuers to further penetrate the market.
How new regulation is forcing a move from cash to digital payments.
Why prepaid cards are proving so popular.
Which debit card network is losing market share.
How the banking market is reforming to combat bad loans.
What recent change in domestic debit card acceptance could increase usage.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Demographics and the economy
Italian cards market
Key retail banks and issuers
Acquiring and processing
Regulatory and other cards market information
Appendices: Cards Market Data
Appendix I: Demographics and the economy
Appendix II: Payments environment
Appendix III: Cards market
Appendix IV: Mobile payments
Appendix V: Profit pool
Appendix VI: The networks
Appendix VII: Key retail banks and issuers
Appendix VIII: Acquiring and processing
Appendix IX: Online acquiring
Demographics and Economy
Italy has one of the highest life expectancies in the EU (80.5 years for males and 84.9 for females). An ageing population creates multiple problems for public finances.
Italy is traditionally one of Europe's most cash-intensive economies; combined with its size, this makes it an attractive growth market for digital payments.
In a market of over 100 million active payment cards, debit cards are the dominant type, accounting for 56% of all cards in circulation. Prepaid and credit cards account for 28 and 15% respectively.
The rise in smartphone penetration in Italy is transforming the way consumers interact with banks and other service providers: smartphone penetration reached an estimated one smartphone per inhabitant in 2019.
Verisk Financial Research forecasts a fall in profits in 2020 as a result of the ongoing pandemic. Lower spend growth, a decline in borrowing and an increase in default are all likely. The market should recover somewhat in 2021.
Visa has traditionally been, and remains, the dominant credit card network, with an estimated market share of 55% of cards in issue: 8.6 million. Debit cards are predominantly issued on the domestic networks PagoBancomat and Bancomat.
Key Retail Banks and Issuers
With 505 banks and a large number of non-bank payment card issuers, the Italian payment cards market is fragmented. However, the top five credit card issuers accounted for an estimated 87% of credit cards in issue at the end of 2019
Acquiring and Processing
The Italian acquiring market is mainly concentrated in the hands of Nexi, Intesa Sanpaolo and UniCredit. This trio collectively account for over 80% of acquired billed volume on credit cards.
Italy is currently the sixth largest e-commerce markets in Western Europe – and one of the fastest-growing. By mid-2019 the industry had grown by 15% on the same period in the prior year.
Regulatory and Markets Information
Mindful of tax evasion, Rome has set about reducing the use of cash transactions in the country, most recently in the 2020 budget, by strongly encouraging the usage of easily traced transactions via debit and credit card.
AEP Ticketing Solutions
B2C eCommerce Observatory
Banca di Genova
Banca Intesa Sanpaolo
Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena
Banca Nazionale del Lavoro
Banca Popolare di Milano
Banco Ambrosiano Veneto
Intesa Sanpaolo PAyGO
Istituto Centrale delle Banche Popolari Italiane
Italian Banking Association
Mercury Payment Services
Mercury UK Holdco
Monte dei Paschi di Siena
Polytechnic University of Milan
Six Payment Services
Società Interbancaria per l'Automazione
Società per i Servizi Bancari
Telecom Italia Mobile
Wise Dialogue Bank
World Wide Fund for Nature
World Wildlife Fund
Verisk reports include detailed market and competitor intelligence on payment cards, e-money, acquiring, retail banking, and consumer credit in Europe. Analysts use primary and secondary source data and conduct in-depth interviews with senior industry executives and finance experts.
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