An Italian preference for cash has held back digital transactions in the euro zone’s third-largest economy and Rome is encouraging a shift to electronic payments in its battle with the so-called black economy. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the switch away from banknotes and the government hopes the Nexi-SIA combination will complement planned state incentives for digital payments.
While Nexi NEXII.MI is focused on the Italian market, SIA generates a third of its revenue abroad. SIA's biggest domestic client is UniCredit and a recent deal to renew their partnership removed a major hurdle for the Nexi tie-up. “This company will be much more international three years from now,” Nexi boss Paolo Bertoluzzo, who will head the new group, said in a statement.