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The Cashback Plan aims to use cards and payment apps to modernize the country and encourage digital and transparent development. First mentioned in Article 31 of the 2020 Budget Law, with 2.2 million euros allocated for 2020 and 1.7 billion for 2021 in the August Decree (DL 104/2020), the Cashback Plan will run from January 1, 2021, to mid-2022.
In the program, Italians who purchase goods and services electronically outside of professional activity will receive 10% back from the amount spent of up to 150 euros with 50 electronic transactions registered with the IO App created by PagoPA. Furthermore, the “Special Cashback” of 1500 euros is given on a half-yearly basis to the first one-hundred thousand users with the highest number of transactions.
The Christmas Cashback garnered public excitement for the program when it debuted on December 8, 2020, and lasted until the end of the month. During this promotion, citizens could receive back 10% of the amount spent up to 150 euros on at least 10 transactions paid by digital methods registered with the IO App. This event ended up seeing over 222 million euros in reimbursements, proving that citizens had an open mind to digital payment methods.
Though the Cashback Plan has not received many amendments in Parliament (only 35 total), there is much debate over the plan. Motion 1-003179 presented by Senator Luca Ciriani (Brothers of Italy) and other center-right politicians argued that the resources for the Cashback Plan should be allocated to economic resources for commercial refreshment measurements. However, the government majority rejected the motion.
In fact, the two main promoters of the Cashback Plan are the main actors of the Conte II’s government majority: the Democratic Party and the Five Star Movement. Though, there has been much agreement over the need for deepened monitoring of the program.
While Draghi’s government may redirect over 3 billion from the Cashback Plan to commercial establishment support, the digitization of payments remains a matter of primary importance and is constantly evolving. Transitioning toward digital transactions is a simple way for citizens to incorporate digitization into their everyday life, and a primary hope for the Cashback Plan is to encourage that transition to grow.