“In the village bar it is not convenient to charge a coffee with a credit card”

Until a few years ago traders complained about the excessive cost of Pos, the device that allows you to accept credit, debit and debit card payments. Since five years ago, according toCompare Conti.it and SOStariffe.it Observatory, that cost has come down a lot. In fact, research data indicates that the installation did occur 22.82 euros (-66.5%) on average, while the monthly rent fell to a high level 6.60 euros (-63.6%).


Today, it is a legal obligation to have Posen provide one sanction for those merchants and those pro that they do not allow their customers to pay by card instead of cash (30 euro which is increased by 4% of the transaction value).

According to the report “Payment system” off Bank of Italy2021 the number of Pos active in Beautiful country was off 3 million and 900 thousand – a figure that far exceeds the 4 million if we also consider the Pos of Post office-, while I costs estimated for the set of payment instruments, net of money transfers (e.g. commissions) representing revenue for providers and costs for users respectively, amounts to approx. 13.6 billion of euros (0.80 percent of GDP, it was 0.90 in 2009). The 48.2 percent of these costs are borne by financial intermediaries, including banks, while the remaining 51.8 percent from companies and exhibitors.


Despite reduced costs, for some Merchantsespecially me lessthe Pos can still represent a voice at a loss. The truth is that the convenience of having one next to the cash register also depends product category to which the merchant belongs.
“If I go into a jewelry store to buy a watch for a thousand euros – he explains Giordano Ferrareseprovincial president of Fip (Italian Federation of Public Shops) – I have plenty of time to meditate on the purchase and use of credit cards, also because it is difficult for people to travel with a thousand euros in cash in their pockets. But in a breakfast bar, where everyone is in a damn hurry in the morning, time becomes the basic variable and paying for a coffee with a credit card often creates queues and very long waiting times, which makes the shopkeeper’s job more difficult ».


So there is a first question related to the effectiveness of the means of payment when you have little time available. To return to the cost issue, Fipe’s president is even more clear: Forcing even small traders to have Posen is like forcing them to go out at a loss. «If the amount is large – emphasizes Ferrarese – I have no problem, but if I have to pay a commission of 60 cents for a chocolate that costs 50 cents, it is clear that it is no longer convenient. The same goes for coffee. If you do not restore the fee, the loss remains“.
And the small trader certainly cannot pass that cost downstream, i.e. to the customer, without risking losing it.
The case raised by tobacconists, who work with a fixed income, is interesting in this sense.


Accept a payment with credit cardfor the operator it may come at a cost up to 5% of the amount which we must add the rent of Pos, the expenses a tamtum and also those for maintenance. According to research from Osservatorio CompareConti.it and SOStariffe.it, average commission for those using the circuit Pagobancomat is even of 1.40%. In this case, it is more convenient to choose a fixed Pos (the traditional one on the counter), because commission applied to the transaction equals, on average, of 1.27%.
Commissions on payments with cards using other circuits also receive points a clear downward trend. The average data collected by the survey actually confirms a commission of 1.66%. This is a net decrease (almost one percentage point) compared to what was recorded in 2017, when average commission was 2.56%. For commission, payment via Fixed Pos continues to be there cheaper choice for merchants. The average commission applied in this case is equal of 1.61% .


“It is true that Covid has given a strong acceleration to digitization – he concludes Ferrara – never again older people, for a cultural reason they are not familiar with digital payments and find it difficult to make them. When they fail, fail two or three times a write the pin, we feel bad and it happens that they entrust typing to the operator. It is certainly a significant act of trust, but at the same time it is dangerous to the integrity of the customer. We are not against Posbut greater attention and listening to exhibitors and consumers is needed ».

Pos mandatory, tobacconists ask for exemption: “So we work at a loss”

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