Pi4Pay, the new SIA Group company, among the first operators in the domestic market to obtain authorization from the Bank of Italy to become a Payment Institution entered in the register, will be operative as of 1st July.
These new non-bank entities represent one of the main new features introduced by the European Directive 2007/64/CE on Payment Services (Payment Services Directive - PSD), which came into force in Italy on 1st March 2010 with the aim of enhancing efficiency and competition in this segment of the financial market following the start up of SEPA (Single Euro Payments Area).
Established in March 2009 and included in the list of financial intermediaries (pursuant to art. 106 of the bank consolidation act - TUB), Pi4Pay offers citizens and businesses multi-channel collection and payment services for utility bills and postal payment slips, as well as for pre-paid card reloading (for example Postepay) and public transport tickets.
Thanks to its recent entry in the Bank of Italy's register of Payment Institutions, Pi4Pay is now able to consolidate its market position as a "payments facilitator", concentrating on its technology gateway the information and financial transactions flow, thus avoiding the creation of countless "end-to-end" links between creditors and banks.
Directly benefitting from its introduction will be above all private citizens who, having these further channels at their disposal, can pay all postal payment slips at over 10,000 ATM terminals and on the home banking services of subscribing banks. This service is also provided at enabled merchants, such as the 11,000 tobacconists who have signed up with ITB Bank (the first online bank set up specifically for Italian tobacconists), where citizens may present their postal payment slip with its bar code and then collect the payment receipt.
During the first five months of 2011, a total of 3.7 million (around 850,000 in May alone) postal payment slips were paid through Pi4Pay, compared to the 2.9 million in 2010. This exponential growth confirms the increasing use by citizens of payment networks different from traditional ones.
Pi4Pay also offers the possibility to reload Postepay castepay card the possibility to reload Postepay castepay cards using a variety of channels, in addition to the standard options already present on the market (for example the 14,000 post offices, 4,800 Postamat points, etc.). It is also possible to use the network of subscribing tobacconists and other credit institutes participating in these reload services. The popularity of these innovative channels for reload operations is roundly confirmed by the figures recorded in the first five months of 2011 during which Pi4Pay managed around 310,000 Postepay reloads, with a peak of 93,000 transactions in May alone.
This past month has also seen the start up of the services for the reload of public transport tickets. Thanks to Pi4Pay, passengers using ATC public transport in Bologna and Ferrara can reload their annual travel passes issued on the "Mi Muovo" microchip card at over 800 Bancomat terminals and 220 UniCredit multimedia kiosks in the Emilia-Romagna region, and from next autumn, also at other post offices and banks.
An additional service to facilitate and reach an increasing number of travelers, with successful trials already carried out by the public transport service in Ravenna, and which will soon be joined by other local public transport companies. Instead of going to the ticket office, passengers can use other channels (including home banking) to reload their travel passes by the amount they choose, simply and conveniently. The new reload service, which in the initial phase involves over 66,000 cards in Bologna and Ferrara, could also be extended to large retailers and mobile phone operators.
Pi4Pay is the first Payment Institution to be a member of AIIP, the nonprofit, voluntary Italian Association of Payment Institutions established in December 2010. The arrival of Payment Institutions represents, also in Italy, an important innovation in the payment services market which will allow citizens, businesses and public administration bodies to use alternative methods to the traditional ones for operations such as payment orders, card issuing, reloads, granting of small loans, fund transfers, international money transfers, etc.
"Pi4Pay's objective is to develop new services designed to make life easier for citizens - commented Massimo Arrighetti, CEO of SIA - More specifically, we want to give everyone the possibility to pay utility bills and reload their cards around the clock using an acceptance network that includes the most widespread outlets".