Flavio De Laurentis, Managing Director Italy of Cash Payment Solutions presents the reality of this startup operating in the cash payment niche, which soon will launch in Italy "InCassa" their platform for deposits, withdrawals and on-line cash payments at retailers' stores.
What are the main applications and functions of InCassa?
The applications of InCassa are many, every company that needs to collect or deliver cash to and from private customers can find great benefits in our platform.
For example, we allow the end customers of our client banks to deposit and withdraw cash in their current account directly to the cash registers of our affiliated retailers, all within their mobile banking application, we are a modern and low cost alternative to the bank branch which is for example used by N26 and DKB. With InCassa you can also pay cash online at many online shops or pay your monthly utility bills. A lot of insurance, utility and housing companied use our services.
Without a doubt, the banking world is where we expect greater market receptiveness, but also other sectors such as online marketplaces, some verticals in the e-commerce world, the insurance sector and the utilities sector are of great interest for us.
What are your retail partners currently? Are you planning further partnerships? How can a company become a partner?
In Germany our partners are Rewe, Real, DM and Rossmann to name a few. All in all we have more than 12,000 stores. In Italy we are currently negotiating the first agreements with two national chains of large retailers.
To become a partner, there must be a commercial agreement between us and the retail chain involved, we are always available to evaluate new partnerships, just contact me and we´ll immediately organize a first meeting, our ambition is to create a network of point of sales as widespread and diversified as possible.
What are the steps that a private person must take to use Cash Payment Solutions?
InCassa is a platform, which is why it is usually integrated as a white-label solution within our customers' applications, be it mobile banking app, e-commerce or directly within the billing systems of our client companies. We are currently working at the integration of two young players in the banking world and as soon as the infrastructure is launched, all their customers will benefit from InCassa deposits and withdrawals in our retail partner stores.
What kind of advantages Cash Payment Solutions offer?
The advantages for the banking customer are the convenience and speed of service. With our platform both the deposit and the withdrawal are fully mobile and the credit or debit on the current account take place within a few tenths of a second. The customer does not have to go to the branch to make a cash deposit or go to the ATM for a withdrawal, you can do it directly at the cash register of the nearest store.
For the online customer, however, the situation is different, our service is designed for those people still attached to cash but who still want to buy online, for example a young person who does not have a credit card or an adult who wants to keep his expenses under control.
We offer customers the opportunity to pay for their purchases in their supermarket of trust, in safety and without providing personal financial data such as credit card number or security code, just provide an email address and we´ll send on that the payment code, which can be stored as a pass in the digital wallet of your mobile phone, or printed. We are the modern and mobile solution for all those consumers who use cash to have more control over their expenses but are nevertheless familiar with the digital world.
How do you guarantee data security?
Cash Payment Solutions as a company is never in possession of the personal data of customers who use the platform, the personal data of end users are the property of our client companies. The information that passes through our servers is traceable but anonymised to ensure maximum confidentiality to the end customer.
How much it cost using Cash Payment Solutions?
It depends on the marketing choices of our client companies, some absorb the cost of the service, while others resell the service to the customer at a margin. Costs in any case are variable depending on the volume of the transaction, as the cost that must be borne by our retail partners is linked to the counting, transport and insurance of cash that is strictly dependent on the volume: it costs more to count, transport and insure 1000 euros than count, transport and insure 100.
In your opinion why cash is still so popular?
From our point of view, people love cash because it is immediate and gives a feeling of total control over family expenses which in the current economic situation is a big help.
Many families feel safer to withdraw their cash budget once a week and try to keep their expenses within that budget or even save something, a level of control and perception of spending impossible to obtain with a card.
Secondly, more and more payment companies are trying to monetize consumer data from their systems. The attentive consumer is increasingly aware of this and a solution like ours gives the opportunity to recover your privacy.
Currently your company operates in different markets (Germany, Austria and Italy): which are the market and consumer' characteristics in each of these countries?
Let´s start from Germany. The cash market in this country is great. In Germany around 61% of transactions are made in cash and in terms of volume, cash settles at 50% of the total. However, less than 1% of the bills are paid in cash and the payment on delivery in e-commerce accounts for around 3% of the total in terms of payment method. As far as the bank withdrawals segment is concerned, in Germany there has long been cash back at the supermarket, where I can ask to pay an item of € 20 for € 120 with a credit card and ask for a € 100 difference in cash. Although the entire banking infrastructure consisting of branches and ATMs is rapidly declining, consumer demand for withdrawals is stable and the Germans are among the Europeans with more cash in their wallet.
We now look at Italy, on the one hand the regulation on cash is stricter, there is a limit of € 1000 for the payment in cash through third parties and in general, it is not possible to make a direct payment between two parties for the purchase of goods over € 3,000.
However, strict regulation does not prevent cash from still being a huge market, 85% of transactions are made in cash and in terms of volumes we are at around 60%. In addition, just under a bill every two is still paid via bulletin and not by direct debit even among the youngest.
In the banking sector in Italy there is still no cash back at the supermarket, the number of bank branches has decreased by 10% in the last 5 years and will still decrease with the next industrial plans of the major Italian banks. Despite this, total ATM withdrawals in Italy have increased by 30% over the last 5 years (EBA statistics), both in terms of the number of transactions and in terms of average euros taken per transaction.
This combined data makes us very confident: we have sustainable business in Germany even more so in Italy we expect to meet even more customers interested in our deposit, withdrawal and payment services.
What do you expect from Forum Banca 2018 and the Fintech Smart Village?
Forum Banca 2018 is for us a networking appointment above all. My ambition is to get to know the most dynamic marketing, sales and IT figures of the main direct and on-line banks in the market and to propose our solution for their smartphone-based banking applications. We are looking forward to enter the world of Fintech in Italy and give our contribution to the market! 😊