Italy’s national postal service provider has added QR code-based payments to its mobile payments app, to support the country’s transition from cash to digital payments.
Postepay’s QR function, Codice Postepay, also offers merchant features including geolocation, integration into Postepay’s loyalty and engagement programmes — including discounts and cashback — as well as money transfers to any bank account, says Poste Italiane.
To use the system customers simply point their phone’s camera at the merchant’s Postepay QR code, either using the native camera functionality or from within the Postepay app.
They are then prompted to enter the payment amount and to authorise the transfer. No POS terminal is needed, making the system ideal for smaller merchants.
Users of Alipay, the China-based mobile platform with 1bn users worldwide, will also be able to make payments using the QR codes.
“We identified the opportunity of a fully digital acquiring offer using QR codes and will help accelerate Italy’s transformation from cash to digital payments using a technology common in major Asian markets,” says Postepay CEO Marco Siracusano.
“The opportunity to access our large customer base and benefit from a range of value-added services is a compelling one for Italy’s SMEs, the backbone of the economy.”
The country’s transition from cash towards digital payments is being orchestrated by the government, in the face of a large and well-developed black economy that is eroding Italy’s tax revenues.
Italy’s official statistics body estimated that the “non-observable economy” — black market and criminal activity — was worth €211bn (US$232bn) in 2017, or 12% of total economic output for that year, according to The Financial Times.
The same report outlines how the Italian government is set to allocate €3bn (US$3.3bn) in its next budget to award bonuses to consumers who eschew cash and instead use cards or other traceable payment systems, and “hopes that an increase in electronic bill settlement will raise significantly more for the state by making tax fraud and black economy transactions more difficult.”
The Codice Postepay system is now live at more than 100 merchants in Rome.