Prepaid card market continued to expand in Italy, driven by online shopping, increased usage by teens, and adoption in toll and transit segment in 2018. In addition, adoption of travel forex card recorded steady growth.
According to PayNXT360, the prepaid card market in gross dollar value terms increased at a CAGR of 18.3% during 2014-2018. Over the forecast period of 2019 to 2023, the prepaid card market size is expected to reach US$ 125 billion by 2023. The next generation prepaid cards that are coming up in Italy will be using features such as IBAN code, multi-app functionality and mobile pay facilities. These cards will expand the scope of services and customer base over the forecast period.
Many banks and the Poste Italiane S.p.A. (postal services) offer prepaid cards in Italy at affordable costs.
Poste Italiane is supposed to be the pioneer in making Italy habitual for prepaid cards. It’s PostePay prepaid card was launched in 2003 and since then it has over 25 million prepaid card users. In 2018, Poste Italiane further consolidated its payment services with release of PostePay App with numerous features such as real-time money transfer and a new method for online purchases.
PostePay offers all services that a bank provides and has managed to increase market share in the unbanked / underbanked consumer segment. With over 12,800 branches and range of prepaid cards PostePay has changed the way prepaid cards were used in Italy. It now allows transfer of salary or pension on the prepaid card, arrange and receive wire transfers, pay utility bills, pay contact less or online for shopping and so on.
Modern prepaid card vendors are using technology over conventional banking practices and that are creating a differentiating scope and market segments, mostly popular among youths. Hype is one of the popular private prepaid card issuer with over 200 thousand users in first quarter of 2018. They have used balance of mobile apps and virtual and physical prepaid cards which has increased their popularity across various payment platforms.
There are restrictions on cash transactions in Italy and these are limited to Euro 2,999.99. Transactions above Euro 3,000 should be carried through banks, Poste Italiane S.p.A., electronic money institutions and payment institutions. This is a primary driver for electronic payment and prepaid cards in Italy.
Prepaid card markets in Italy are going to boom with the launch of ‘Citizens Wage’ initiative of Italian government. ‘Citizens Wage’ is an income scheme launched by Italian government to support over 5 million unemployed citizens. Under this scheme those who are eligible for the scheme will get benefits upto Euro 780 per month in the form of prepaid (pre-charged) electronic shopping card. The government believes that this will not only help encourage unemployed youth but also will result in growth of GDP.
To know more and gain deeper understanding of prepaid card industry in Italy, click here.