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Italy Country Report

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  • Published Date: April 2023


This report provides detailed market analysis, trends and insights into Italy's cards and payments industry.
It provides current and forecast values for Spain's cards and payments industry, including debit, credit, and charge cards, with detailed insights into payment instruments, including cards, direct debits, credit transfers and cash payments.
The report outlines key alternative payment instruments in Spain, such as e-commerce and cashless payments. The instant payments system in Spain is already opening the market to mobile payments, with younger customers enthusiastic, opening up the prospect for strong growth in digital and P2P payments.
Italy is a very competitive market. There is wide commercial scope here, not least in e-commerce which has taken off in recent years but retains more room for expansion compared to more mature markets elsewhere in the continent.

The future for cards and digital payments in Spain

Italy has long been one of Europe's most cash-intensive economies; combined with its size, it is an attractive growth market for digital payments, especially in the context of the Covid-era's cashless boost. We have a detailed analysis of strategies adopted by banks and other institutions to market debit, credit, and charge cards.

What about global players in the Italian market?

Although  PagoBancomat  remains the dominant debit-card network here, the network is slowly losing market share to Visa and Mastercard. As in many other markets in the region, Italian banks are switching from Maestro and V Pay to Mastercard- and Visa-branded debit cards.

How are Spanish players faring?

Nexi  dominates acquiring, increasing market share on the recent acquisition of Intesa Sanpaolo's acquiring business. Worldline announced its acquisition of Axepta Italy in early 2022. Homegrown mobile wallet  Satispay  has expanded into Belgium, France, Germany and Luxembourg.

What you can learn from this report:

The report explores the Italy card payments market covering infrastructure payment preferences, consumer payment trends and the growth of online payment systems.
We give values and volumes for many key performance indicators in the payments market for Italy, including details of cash use, debit and credit card transactions and mobile payments over the review period.
Our writers and researchers frame information in contexts such as historical, sectoral and regional trends, adding a layer of value often missing from the rolling news cycle.
Expect intelligent insights into marketing strategies used for cards and payments in Italy with coverage of relevant regulations governing the financial and banking markets.

The Italy cards and payments report provides:

33 pages of commentary, including profit pool analysis.
31 tables with over 110 metrics.
Many clear, informative graphics.

Valuable insights in this Italy report

How the payments environment evolves with the rise of contactless, cashless modes and mobile payments.
How credit and debit cards are used, with profitability indicators for each.
E-commerce payment trends in the light of BNPL and card innovations.
Mobile proximity payments data and commentary on app-based solutions.
The credit card profitability mechanism.
Network market shares and interchange tracking; the place of the domestic debit network.
How credit/debit cards market shares have been changing.
The merchant acquiring landscape, including MSCs and processor relationships/shares.
Notable laws and regulations, key statutory authorities and credit bureaux.

Italy Payments Research | Report Contents

Key facts
Payments environment
Cards market
Fintech and mobile payments
Credit card profitability
Merchant acquiring
Regulatory environment

Italy Country Report Data Tables
(All 2016-25F unless otherwise stated)

Appendix I: Demographic and economic indicators

1: Demographic and economic indicators.
2: Ownership of key consumer devices.
3: Internet usage by population.

Appendix II: Payments environment

4: Access points: 2016-23F.
5: B2C e-commerce payment methods: 2016-23F.

Appendix III: Cards market

6: Total card payment metrics.
7: Contactless cards metrics.
8: Credit card numbers.
9: Total credit card metrics.
10: Credit cards profitability indicators.
11: Debit card numbers.
12: Debit card metrics.
13: Prepaid/e-money cards metrics.

Appendix IV: Mobile payments

14: Mobile proximity payment metrics: 2017-25F.

Appendix V: Profit pool

15: Italy market profit pool including credit card numbers, billed volumes, outstandings, interest incomes, net interest revenues, merchant revenues, card fee revenues, other non-interest incomes, total revenues, net credit losses, operating expenses, total expenses, pre-tax profits, merchant service charges, rollover rates, APR, net credit losses to outstandings, operating costs to revenues, ROA (pre-tax profits to outstandings).

(All 2016-25F below unless otherwise stated)

Appendix VI: The card networks

16: Networks' credit card market shares.
17: Credit card interchange fees by network.
18: Networks' debit card market shares.
19: Networks' debit card numbers.
20: Debit card interchange fees by network.

Appendix VII: Key retail banks and issuers

21: Key credit card issuers market shares by credit card numbers: 2018-23F.
22: Key issuers market shares in credit card outstandings: 2018-23F.
23: Key debit card issuers market shares by debit card numbers: 2018-23F.

Appendix VIII: Acquiring and processing

24: Merchant acquirer credit card market share: 2022E.
25: Credit card merchant service charges.
26: Merchant acquirer debit card market share: 2022E.
27: Debit card merchant service charges.
28: Credit card issuer/issuing processor relationships
29: Credit card acquirer/acquiring processor relationships
30: Credit card issuing processor market shares by card numbers: 2022E.
31: Credit card acquiring processor market shares by the number of POS transactions: 2022E.

Italy Country Report | Selected Extracts

Payments Environment
Cash remains the preferred payment method for small-ticket items, although the direction of travel is digital. Card payments have grown dynamically, and digital wallets, lifted by instant-payments infrastructure TIPS in recent years, are increasingly popular.

Cards Market
Italy's payment cards market is developed, with a penetration rate of 212 cards per 100 adults at the end of 2022 – of which the majority were debit cards, responsible for over two-thirds of total transactions. The Italian credit card market is geared more towards charge cards and delayed-debit cards than revolving credit cards.

E-commerce sales doubled between 2016 and 2021, driven by successive lockdowns; AAR expects spending to increase during the medium term.

Fintech and mobile
Mobile wallets, too, have grown in prominence. Since the start of the pandemic, Italians have been finding them a convenient way to track their spending and store virtual debit and prepaid cards.

Credit Card Profitability
Credit cards are typically not overly popular among Italian consumers as they prefer to make use of prepaid cards or e-wallets to pay online and use either cash or debit cards at the POS.

Visa, Mastercard and American Express are Italy's principal networks after Diners Club's leaving the market in 2021. Historically, most issuers here offered credit cards on the Visa network. However, over the past few years, rival Mastercard also signed issuing agreements with major Italian banks, with most banks now issuing cards with no favoured network.

Italian banking infrastructure is well developed. However, as in many other EU states, the number of branches has declined. The network of 21,700 branches that existed at the end of 2021 was over twenty-five per cent smaller than it had been five years before.

Merchant Acquiring
The Italian acquiring market is mainly concentrated in the hands of Nexi, BCC Pay and UniCredit. This trio collectively account for about two-thirds of acquired billed volume on credit cards. Nexi's acquisition of Intesa Sanpaolo's payment business in 2020 has bolstered its position as the market leader.

Regulatory Environment
Banca d'Italia is the central bank of Italy; it supports the government's economic policy by maintaining price stability and acts as a supervisory authority to maintain financial stability in Italy.


Argus Advisory Research reports deliver invaluable market and competitor intelligence on payments cards, e-money, acquiring/processing, retail banking, and consumer credit. Analysts and researchers use primary and secondary source data and conduct in-depth interviews with senior industry executives and local experts.

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