Findings from the survey show that most merchants (86%) now rely on POS devices to accept payments in Italy. Respondents valued the security (81%), speed (71%), functionality (79%) and convenience (70%) offered by card payments. Merchants also felt that the ability to accept card payments gives their business a more modern (64%) and attractive (55%) image with consumers.

In addition, Italian merchants say they prefer card payments using a point-of-sale (POS) device rather than accepting cash. Forty-eight (48%) per cent argue that digital payments offer greater simplicity, while 38% say card payments reduce the risk of theft or loss of cash.

The survey focused on small and medium-sized retail and restaurant merchants, as well as freelance professionals in Italy.

Vanessa Maneo, Nexi’s head of POS Marketing, said: “The BVA Doxa survey confirms that more and more Italian merchants are aware of, and leveraging, the benefits of a digital payment experience

“However, there is a need for a solution that offers merchants these same benefits while accepting digital payments away from the POS. This could be for sales during a market or fair or at bars or restaurants where payments are made at the table”, Maneo added.

Despite this, Italian consumers remain slow adopters of electronic payments, mostly due to a preference for cash, which accounted for 67.7% of total payment transaction volume in November 2022, GlobalData’s “Italy Cards and Payments: Opportunities and Risks” report says.

According to the report, 97.7% of the country’s population is banked. GlobalData analysts expect the total number of cards in circulation to reach 95.9m by the end of 2026 – up from 89.8m estimated in December 2022.