In the beginning it was the Goliaths – or the Goleadors, depending on the generations. A change in kind for small transactions at the bar or grocery store, rounding the value of the candy to the next integer. Then the matter evolved considerably, especially abroad. That is, the ability to pay a higher value than the price of the good or service you are buying with a credit or debit card in a store and receive the change in cash. Before the word was occupied by the state reward initiative to encourage the use of digital money, cashback was exactly that: I pay by card, I get cash back. Commonly used service in the US, where bank ATMs are not as widespread as in Italy and where totems managed by various companies are rampant, from which it is possible to withdraw cash but often with very high commissions. Now we could also prepare in Italy to welcome this revolution: in-store withdrawals. As stated in the proposal made by Bancomat Spa to the Antitrust. To contribute, a series of data and reforms relating, in fact, to ATM withdrawals. In December, the Antitrust Authority announced a liberalization of the fees on the withdrawal, decided by the bank that owns the branch, in order to eliminate the interchange fee. This is because it is not economically convenient for banks to keep the possibility of withdrawing at the counter. In fact, according to the data released by Bancomat, 75% of withdrawals in Italy take place at the counter of one’s bank, and therefore without commissions – that is to say without any type of remuneration for the institution that bears the management and maintenance costs of the bank. ‘ATM. Only 25% of withdrawals take place in another institution than the card issuing one, but even here the bank that manages the ATM collects a fixed commission of 49 cents per operation, which is not sufficient and bears the costs. So much so that some banking giants, including Ing, are thinking of closing their automatic teller machines permanently. Withdrawals from ATMs are also made complex by the progressive reduction of bank branches. According to data from the Uilca Orietta Guerra Study Center from 2015 to 2020 in Italy there was a contraction of branches of 22.4% and employees suffered a decline of 9.1%. Trend that involves all of Europe, to an even greater extent: from 2011 to 2019, in the 27 countries of the European Union, the overall reduction in branches was 26.8%, albeit in a different way: in Spain -40, 1%; in Germany -29.3%; in Italy -27.4% and in France -6.8%. Growing digitalization, mergers and closures of offices are behind the reduction in the number of branches. And, however, cash in Italy still plays a predominant role in the economy. In this sense, the solution proposed by Bancomat Spa affects POS withdrawals, which would therefore work in reverse, not to pay but to deliver cash. Such a method, with transparent and advance declared commissions, would make it possible to remunerate those who offer the service without branch management costs. Merchants would receive a commission just like banks do today. Although, as far as our country is concerned, it is not yet clear whether the withdrawals should be associated with a purchase or not. The Antitrust decision is expected in the coming weeks.
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