Italians, on one hand, prefer to use cash in shops, as it accounts for 69% of total payments. However, the percentage of cash payments has been decreasing over the years, dropping from 86% in 2016 to 82% in 2019. On the other hand, if they have the freedom to choose, they prefer cashless payment methods, leading to a discrepancy between their stated preferences and their actual behavior. These findings are from a research published by the Bank of Italy, titled “Report on consumer payment attitudes in Italy: the results of the ECB SPACE 2022 survey”.
The use of non-cash payments has been increasing, reaching 51% of total purchases at point-of-sale (POS) in terms of transaction value, reducing the gap with the euro area. Nevertheless, cash remains the prevalent instrument for low-value purchases, although its dominance has been decreasing. Notably, cards are the most frequently used instrument for high-value purchases.
The survey also found that Italy is one of the countries with the strongest preference for cashless payments in the euro area. The main perceived advantages of using cards are convenience, security, and speed, while the benefits of cash are related to control over spending and acceptance by merchants.
The survey also highlights that Italy has one of the lowest rates of people who find access to cash difficult in the eurozone. Additionally, the share of consumers who own crypto-assets is stable at 2%, primarily for investment purposes.
When it comes to person-to-person transactions, cash payments have remained stable at 85% of total payments in this form. In the eurozone, the use of cash has decreased in favor of mobile payments for such transactions. Furthermore, for recurring payments, direct debit is the most used instrument in the eurozone, while cash is rarely used.