24 Maggio 2019

Naples: the ghost of ATM

Paying with credit cards, debit cards or POS cards is not always easy in a city like Naples. In several districts of Campania, a refrain seems to bring together several merchants "We don't have POS, we're sorry, only cash".

Traders seem to snub electronic payment systems by blaming on management fees and on the percentage that the bank collects for each transaction. Especially on restrained figures, the retailer claims to lose out product’s sale: therefore, initiatives would be needed to promote commercial activities, establishing category agreements that reduce costs for merchants.

This, together with the paper’s appeal in comparison with new technologies, makes it difficult for digital payments to make their way among merchants. Naples is one of the most glaring examples but it is certainly not the only one: in general, Italians in 85.9% of cases use banknotes and coins, while only 12.9% of transactions are reserved for cards.

Today Italy is facing an epochal challenge of modernization not only in consumption habits, but also for industrial and service supply chains. In the case of Naples, surely, this creates considerable inconveniences to tourists, who are forced to wander around the city looking for an ATM to withdraw or they simply need to change shops.

It is clear that among the merchants that are reluctant to use electronic payment, there are also the famous “POS crafty ", more widespread than we want to admit, as the growing affirmation of digital payments is affecting the tendency to use cash in "Black" to avoid the traceability of payments. Consequently, greater recognition of transactions through digital payments would make it possible to reduce tax evasion and consequently make taxpayers pay fewer taxes.

Nevertheless, according to the Mobile Payment & Commerce Observatory of the Polytechnic University of Milan, the use of cash costs the Italian system nearly 10 billion a year, causing a further loss.

However, things are often more complicated than they seem. Although the new electronic payment instruments are a precious weapon against tax evasion, Italy keep remaining a country owning a strong current assets, in which the power of cash, branched into consumer uses, will continue to be supported. This exacerbates the usual comparison between the obsolete cash and the futuristic digital payment apps, as it is the cause of the conformation of the Italian economic and banking system, one is not able to have a payment system rather than another.