Over the last few years, Italy, which has always been very attached to using cash, has seen a real boom in digital payments and especially in apps: more secure, more convenient and faster.
Even though Italy is among the most developed countries in the world, the payments sector is still facing a deep-rooted reluctance to adopt advanced payment methods and instruments. In fact, historically, the use of cash has been the predominant method of payment: according to the Bank of Italy’s most recent report, “L’utilizzo del contante in Italia” (The Use of Cash in Italy), published in 2019 with data pertaining to 2016, over 85% of shop transactions are made in cash.
In recent years, however, the trend has reversed with a rapid increase in digital instruments: in 2019, according to the Observatory on Innovative Payments at the Politecnico di Milano’s School of Management, there was a genuine surge in mobile payments after years of gradual growth, and by the end of 2020, according to the latest research, almost 8 out of 10 Italians were using payment cards and digital wallets (that is, digital wallets managed via a smartphone app).
The reasons for the massive move away from “physical” payments to digital methods are numerous and they all contributed in some way to the ever increasing success of cards (in particular the contactless ones), but especially of apps. First of all, greater security: by keeping cash in your pocket, wallet, handbag or backpack, the risk of losing your money or allowing it to be stolen is always present, whereas with digital payments, that danger no longer exists (especially if you make payments using an app with advanced security features).
Secondly, paying in cash makes keeping track of your transactions difficult: who has never reached the end of the day wondering how they spent those 10 euros missing from their wallet and can’t remember who they gave them to? Digital payments resolve this problem also, because all spending is traceable and verifiable, and you can always check how much you spent and when.
In addition, we should not underestimate what could be the main reason driving the change in attitudes: the convenience of always having money in your pocket, easily available via your smartphone (the companion from which we have become inseparable), so you have it when you need it without having to remember to withdraw cash, bring your wallet or count how much cash you have with you. An digital wallet is always available when you need it: just one tap and the payment is made. And it’s no coincidence that, in terms of digital payment methods, users are increasingly identifying their favourites as the mobile methods that make payments using apps, which are convenient, fast and secure.
For example, the multi-award-winning payment app, MuchBetter, as well as offering an elegant, simple user experience, also offers security features that are even more robust and evolved than normal payment apps they called it dynamic CVV: as well as biometric payment authorisations (through Touch ID or Face ID) codes operate to authorise transactions and there is an automatic transaction review system to ensure that only the legitimate ones go through.
It’s economical too: no account fees or charges, the option to request a prepaid card free of charge connected to the Mastercard circuit and order elegant, secure, contactless devices (such as the exclusive MuchBetter key fob) to conveniently make contactless payments from your digital wallet.
Plus, transferring money from your MuchBetter account to friends and family is simple, fast and, above all, free. Not to mention, while many payment apps allow you to add funds only by linking your bank account or credit card, MuchBetter also permits you to “transform” cash into digital funds: just visit one of the 15,000 shops across Italy where you can buy Ricarica MuchBetter top-up voucher to load funds into your MuchBetter digital wallet within minutes.
Starting to use MuchBetter is very simple: just download the app from the App Store or Google Play, create a free account and transfer the first top-up to be able to enter the world of MuchBetter digital payments. And if you top-up your wallet by purchasing vouchers with one of the payment methods supported by Cashback di Stato, you may also receive a 10% refund (up to a maximum of 150 euros every six months).