Italians sign up to 'cashback' card payment scheme despite objections, Reuters

Wednesday 23 December 2020 11:02 CET | News

In an attempt by Rome to curb tax evasion and help retailers hit by COVID-19 restrictions, Italians have signed up for a local ‘cashback’ card payment scheme.

Thus, more than 5.3 million Italians have signed up for a government scheme offering a 10% refund for card payments in stores in just two weeks, according to Reuters. To join the scheme, users must download an app followed by a drawn-out registration process. This action comes in stark contrast to Italians’ lukewarm response to the simpler Immuni app launched in June 2020 to trace COVID-19 infections, the publication adds.

The ‘cashback’ plan will officially kick off in January 2021, but the pilot programme from December 8 to the end of 2020, which allows savings of up to 150 euros, has already attracted 10% of the adult population.

Still, the programme has its critics, including the European Central Bank, which said that governments should take a neutral approach to means of payments and complained it had not been consulted.

Retail association Confesercenti says that since 70% of card users already spend more than the 3,000-euros-per year threshold set for the refund programme, there is little incentive for them to increase their transactions.

Another objection is that tax evasion is most rife among service providers such as plumbers, builders, and doctors and these can still provide far bigger discounts in return for cash payments that can be offered by the card-incentive scheme.

Still, hard-pressed Italians are just happy to grab any opportunity to save money.

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Keywords: tax evasion , cash back, COVID-19, retailers, digital payments, Italy, retailers, merchants, card payments
Categories: Payments & Commerce
Countries: Italy
This article is part of category

Payments & Commerce