Italian government to cut retailers' digital payment costs with levy on banks

The Italian parliament has approved a measure that will lead to cut fees on digital payments for store owners.

The 2023 budget amendment will see Rome work to broker a deal between banks, payment companies and sellers to reduce fees on electronic transactions worth up to €30 for businesses with revenues of less than €400,000.

The government previously scrapped a controversial provision which would have relaxed sanctions for retailers who refuse card payments. This drew criticism from the European Commission, which stated concerns that it would facilitate fraud in a country where money laundering is already rife.

Advocates for cash payments have said that they save shopkeepers money in expensive banking fees. Critics of the practice however have argued that reducing curbs on cash would power Italy’s black economy which sees around €100 billion in taxes and social contributions evaded each year.

According to government documentation seen by Reuters, the government will impose the ‘solidarity contribution’ equivalent to 50 per cent of the net proceeds from fees on transactions of up to €30 if banks and business fail to reach an agreement on a “fair and transparent level of fees.”

The Italian government introduced fines of €30 plus 4 per cent of the value of the transaction for shops that refused card payments as a part of measures to unlock post-pandemic recovery funding from the EU.

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