Italians love cash and avoid credit and debit purchases at the highest rate of all the euro region. As a result, they are among the region’s least indebted and biggest savers. It’s estimated that the government loses 100 billion euros of revenue a year in untaxed transactions, while its banking cartel loses out on billions of possible fee revenue when the average Italian makes only 26 credit card purchases a year. Needless to say, the government and banks are joining forces in a war on cash, cash salaries, and cash transactions.
Good luck! A cash-based culture is what one would expect from a people who have seen practically every form of government come and go over centuries. No wonder Italians, embracing a practice endorsed last year by economist Joe Salerno, tend to place their faith in private networks and associations whenever possible. “Italians have a strong family tradition that leads them to avoid debt and save a lot to ensure their kids a future,” says Bocconi University’s Carlo Alberto Carnevale-Maffe. “They like solid investments such as houses. And for renovations or purchases made under the table, what better way than cash?”
For more information, see Bloomberg.