Italian media outlet Waroncash.org, a blog which aims to provide information about electronic payments to the Italian public, has launched a public petition looking to raise awareness and promote a more effective approach towards the gradual withdrawal of banknotes and coins as payment instruments and limit the intervention of regulators on the fee schemes.
The petition appeals to European and Italian legislators in a bid to raise their attention and initiate a call to action on a number of issues, which include the elimination of EUR 500 banknotes; the development of new electronic payment systems (particularly NFC and mobile-powered ones); the elimination of excessive regulations for interchange fees; the introduction of incentives to non-cash payments; and the intensive promotion of the use of alternative payment systems to cash, through the direct participation or sponsorships and patronage.
1. Elimination of EUR 500 banknotes in Europe
The petition asks that the over 400million of 500 euro banknotes representing an overall value of 200 billion euro be withdrawn from circulation. The rationale behind this is that – in view of the information that can be easily collected – these banknotes cannot be considered simple payment instruments but, on the contrary, they represent the best denomination banknote for evasion, corruption and money laundering purposes.
2. Promotion of mobile payments
The petition calls for the development of new electronic payment systems, particularly proximity ones (contactless) and through advanced mobile phones (m-payment). It also prompts the Italian Government to support central and peripheral public administrations, municipally-owned and controlled companies in adopting new instruments aimed at the elimination of cash even for public transport tickets, parking fares, consumption bills, fines, taxi, public bicycles, school canteens, library cards etc.
3. Free commissions to limit bank costs
The petition asks that interchange fees do not receive regulations from national and European institutions . An invasive intervention from legislators on this delicate mechanism may generate privileges for everyone except consumers, who – the petition authors claim – find themselves burdened by bank costs to compensate for losses caused by the regulation itself.
4. Introducing conflict of interests and incentives to no cash payments
The petition asks Italian authorities to immediately legislate to allow the deduction of duly proven expenses (through receipts or invoices) from incomes. Consumers must be incentivized in fighting tax evasion and support the war on cash, the document claims.
5. Communicating the advantages of e-money and the damages of cash
The petition requests that European, central and local institutions subscribe to all initiatives promoting the use of alternative payment systems to cash, through the direct participation or sponsorships and patronage.