After a decrease in cards in circulation in 2018, pre-paid cards has rebounded in 2019. Similarly, the category is stabilising after a strong slowdown in transaction volume and value.
Younger consumers continue to be particularly attracted to pre-paid cards, which are perceived to offer security and are easy and convenient to use. Additionally, further launches of open loop pre-paid cards with an IBAN number are set to positively impact the category performance over the forecast period.
Open loop is by far the preferred type of pre-paid card in Italy. Following a dip in cards in circulation in 2018, open loop pre-paid cards rebounded strongly in 2019.
There is a diverging trend within the competitive environment in Italy. While pre-paid cards remain widely used by Italian consumers, there is an increasing split between the leader and traditional bank players.
Poste Italiane continues to enjoy first-mover benefits in pre-paid cards. The high recognition of and trust in Poste Italiane makes its new products more acceptable to many existing and potential customers.
In 2018, the mobile telephone operator TIM launched TIM Pay, offering a new contactless payment service on all Android smartphones using NFC technology and safety standards provided by Mastercard. TIM Pay, a pre-paid card (virtual or physical card), allows users to manage money and payments through their smartphone and pay in stores through their smartphone or Apple Watch with the support of Apple Pay.
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