Italy starts strongly to adopt NFC - Customer and Merchant attitudes are there learning for other Markets

Oct 14, 2013
Posted by: David

SIA has researched their own pilot card base and found that 94% of the Italians who have had the opportunity to try out NFC payments like the technology, giving the experience an average rating of 8 out of 10.

The research though also looked at consumer and merchant atittudes and it would be interesting to see if other European countries where NFC has rolled out quite strongly such as the UK and Poland have similar attitudes:


  • 91% made between four and ten NFC payments in a month
  • 71% made payments in supermarkets and shopping malls
    • 44% restaurants and bars
    • 29% news stands and tobacconists
  • A range of benefits were cited as key:
    • 59% speed
    • 47% practicality and convenience
    • 21% elimination of cash and cards

But men are from Mars and women are from Venus so:

  • Men tended to make the same purchases on a repeated basis, such as buying a coffee, newspaper or snack on their home to work route. They also tended to use NFC only to purchase low value items.
  • Women experimented much more with NFC payments, using them for larger value purchases and in a far wider range of locations, including paying for the family shopping, in shopping malls, for household linen, fast food and even furniture.

Merchant attitudes fell into three groups:

  • Dissatisfied but forward-looking — large chains that were not yet very happy with the spread of the technology but could see NFC payment as an interesting future business opportunity.
  • Dissatisfied — small organizations with few users who don't yet consider mobile payment to be an interesting technology.
  • Satisfied — small organizations with a good number of users who see mobile payment as a way to satisfy their clientele and win their loyalty.

Though they did outline two key advantages:

  1. All felt that the merits of NFC payments related to consumer experience, with convenience and speed being the key factors.
  2. Large organizations also saw the potential benefits at the point of sale, particularly in terms of security and the handling of virtual money compared to cash.

And three potential disadvantages of NFC:

  1. Poor distribution of the technology among consumers.
  2. Italians' general resistance to new technologies.
  3. The presumed difficulty of use for some classes of customers.