• Sun. Oct 17th, 2021

The search for cashless in Greece, Sweden, Poland, Portugal and South Korea

Byeditorial

May 21, 2021

The Italy Eurispes 2021 Report takes into consideration the level of digital payments which continues to be very diversified in the various countries, “also due to a different sensitivity towards the cashless transition on the part of national governments and the predominant consumption habits of the population. At both European and extra-European level, more and more states are in any case defining targeted policies to accompany and translate into reality the transition towards the cashless society “. The Report reviews some international European and non-European experiences which, on this issue, record similar actions to reduce the economic impact of electronic payments on both merchants and consumers “by lowering, on the one hand, the fees for merchants and applying a tax discount for those who choose to pay with debit and credit cards, on the other hand ”. The first case is perhaps the most successful and well-known one, namely South Korea: “Among the measures adopted by that country over the years, the obligation of electronic payments for amounts exceeding 42 dollars, tax deductions of the 20% for those who have spent at least 10% of their income on cards and, already in the mid-2000s, the launch of a national receipt lottery aimed at merchants and consumers. The combination of these measures led to a progressive increase in credit card transactions which, in 2016, reached 334.1 transactions per capita, with a level higher than that of the two European best performers Denmark and Sweden (respectively equal to 329.5 and 319.1 transactions per inhabitant) “. Another interesting case is that of Greece, a country where” In 2015 the Government introduced measures aimed at controlling capital, providing for: the introduction of mandatory closing days for banks and consequent obligation to accept payment card payments during the bank closing period; the limit on cash withdrawals of 60 euros per day; the abolition of the issuance of prepaid cards. Furthermore, in 2016, the Government issued law 4446/2016, which imposed: the obligation to receive payments by electronic card for all merchants and freelancers; the obligation to pay a portion of the annual expenses with cashless payment instruments in order to benefit from tax deductibility “. And the number of card transactions per capita went from 8.1 in 2014 to 47.1 in 2017, an increase of 481.5% .In Sweden, on the other hand, the number of card payments per capita in 2018 was 319, compared to 116 of the EU average: “The cashless revolution extends to various aspects of daily life, for example: 70% of the Swedish population submits their tax return online; e-commerce is worth 11.5 billion euros, equal to 6% of the total retail; the number of electronic invoices has grown from 5 million in 2005 to 85 million today; about 75% of the population activated BankID (2003), a digital identification tool issued by banks, which allows transactions to be validated; 58% of the population uses Swish, the P2P instant payment app developed by the main Swedish banks ”. While in Portugal with the Factura da sorte initiative, a receipt lottery, “the Government has tried to undermine tax avoidance, which reaches peaks of 19% of GDP. The lottery, which started in January 2014, was then flanked by a legislative decree through which a 15% deduction of VAT on purchases up to a maximum of 250 euros was provided for the final consumers. The result is that the VAT revenue increased by 7.9%, with + 45% of invoices issued by companies and freelancers, against a GDP that in the same period grew by only 0.8% “. And, again, Belgium, where “The Government has worked on two levels: promoting the digitization of the country and encouraging the use of electronic payments. As regards electronic payments in the strict sense, between 2012 and 2014 numerous measures were launched in order to put a stop to the use of cash: the reduction of the limit for cash payments from 15,000 to 3,000 euros; the ban on the use of cash for the purchase and sale of real estate; equal treatment of paper and electronic invoices “. Finally, in Poland “The number of card transactions per capita went from 48.7 in 2014 to 100.6 in 2017, an increase of 106.6%. This, thanks to the policies adopted by the Government: since 2014, Poland has promoted a multi # stakeholder plan in which the Central Bank plays a key role, called Non # Cash Turnover Development Program 2014-2020, in which 5 specific objectives have been set for support the development of electronic means of payment, also leveraging the high share of contactless cards, whose percentage of circulation in the country now exceeds 90% of the total number of cards “.

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