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Today's Big Ideas
Why Italians Hate Digital
Italy's Prime Minister,
Giorgia Meloni, issued a draft budget last week that went hard on
Under the new budget, Italian
merchants would have the right to refuse digital payments for any transaction
under €60 ($63). And the ceiling for legal cash transactions would rise
from €1,000 to €5,000.
Why is Meloni's Brothers of
Italy party acting against digital payments? Well, besides the move being
popular among voters, they blame steep transaction fees.
Meloni calls transaction fees
a "hidden tax", an "illegitimate gift for banks" and a mechanism for spying and
profiling hardworking families.
Italians already make the
fewest card payments in Europe–85.6 per person per year, compared to 350
in Finland. Unsurprisingly, Italy also has a vast shadow economy, valued
at €183b, around 11% of GDP.
Predictably, Brussels isn't a
fan of the idea. Beyond the obvious–tax dodging, crime, an all-raound archaic
move–the plans go against Italy's pandemic Recovery Plan. The Plan agreed with
Brussels in return for around 200 billion euros ($208 billion) of EU funds
created sanctions for retailers who refuse to accept card payments.
Meloni released a video to her
2.6m followers where she seemed to backtrack on the idea. Here's what she
"Until 60 euros, we would
like not to force retailers to accept electronic payments. But let's say that
the 60-euro threshold is indicative, for me, it could even be
We'll have to see how this
pans out. It looks like a €60 limit isn't going to work. What's likely, though,
is a squeeze on transaction fees starting at the top.
Wells Fargo Launches "Magic" New
Wells Fargo has unveiled
Vantage–a one-stop-shop for digital banking that Reetika Grewal, EVP, says is
Vantage stitches together all
of the bank's digital portals into one solution. It uses what the bank's
calling ‘persona-driven AI’ to personalise the experience and ML to pre-empt
customer behaviour on the platform. Every user–from a family-run shop to a
global corporation–can use Vantage to manage their finances.
Don't worry: everyone's
favourite virtual assistant, "Fargo" isn't going anywhere. The Google Cloud
AI-powered is on-hand to offer guidance
3 Reasons to Be Bullish
on "Paying by Bank" in 2023
In an interview with
Takeuchi, co-founder and CEO of GoCardless, laid out the three reasons he
believes "paying by bank" will be big next year.
For those short on time, here's
what he said:
1. Bank Payments Are
Already Up: Bank payments like Direct Debit (UK) have been popular for
decades. We're seeing a groundswell in the use of Faster Payments (23% YOY
increase reaching 3.6 billion). Users are associating the ‘pay by bank’ button
with faster, easier and more secure payments.
2. Cards Are
Expensive: Card fees in the UK have increased 13% since 2015 while
the allure has declined, especially among Gen Z. Forrester predicts
at least one global retailer will start experimenting with a 'pay by bank'
mechanism next year.
3. Incumbents Are
Wading In: JPMorgan and MasterCard announced their Pay-by-Bank product
in November. It seems likely that HSBC and Barclays will join them in adding a
‘pay by bank’ option for customers. All the pieces are coming