Here’s how you can earn cashback on your Christmas shopping in Italy

The Italian government is offering shoppers refunds on purchases made by card this December, as part of its ongoing efforts to move Italy away from cash. Here's how you could qualify.

Here's how you can earn cashback on your Christmas shopping in Italy
Christmas shopping in Rome. Photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP

The cashback di Natale or 'Christmas cashback' scheme is the latest incentive in the government's 'Cashless Italy' strategy, aimed to encourage people to swap cash for card in order to make payments easier to trace and help authorities root out tax evasion.

READ ALSO: Italy tops the table for tax dodging in Europe – again

It comes alongside prizes for people who rack up the highest number of card payments, as well as a lotteria degli scontrini, or 'receipt lottery', which gives consumers and business owners the chance to win up to €5 million for making or taking electronic payments. 

While the government is planning to introduce a long-term cashback scheme from 2021, it's giving consumers a chance to start earning refunds on their Christmas shopping from this month.

Here's how it works. 

When does the scheme start?

You can start earning Christmas cashback from December 8th and continue until December 31st, and you can register for the reward scheme right away.

Who is eligible?

To be eligible you must be a resident in Italy, over 18, and registered using the government’s IO app for accessing public services. 

To register, you'll need either an electronic ID, known as a SPID, or a valid Italian ID card with a microchip and PIN (a carta d’Identità elettronica, or CIE).

READ ALSO: What is a SPID and how do you get one?

You'll also need a bank account and a credit, debit or PagoBancomat card, or the Satispay shopping app.

How do you claim your refund?

Before spending anything, register for the cashback scheme on the IO app, designate which card you want to use, and give the details of the bank account where you want to receive your refund.

Once you've made enough payments to qualify, the government will transfer your cashback to your account early next year.

What do you have to spend and how much do you get back?

Make ten payments on your designated card between December 8th-31st and you'll get 10 percent of the total amount back, up to a maximum of €150.

There's no minimum spend, so even paying for a coffee by card counts. Nor is there a maximum, though the refund is capped at €15 per transaction (in other words, payments over €150 won't earn you any extra).

READ ALSO: Could coronavirus push Italy to adopt card payments at last?

The Italian government is keen to encourage cash payments even for small expenses. Photo: Francois Lo Presti/AFP

Where do you have to spend?

The government says it will count payments not only in all shops and supermarkets but also in bars and restaurants, as well as to tradespeople and professionals – so paying your hairdresser, plumber, lawyer or architect by card also qualifies.

Shopping online won't count, however. Nor will paying business expenses, topping up your phone credit at an ATM, or making direct debits or other recurring payments.

Will the scheme continue after Christmas?

Yes – though the rewards won't be quite as good value. 

From January 1st, you'll have to make at least 50 card payments over six months to earn cashback, which will which remain capped at €150 total and €15 per single transaction. 

Therefore the most you'll be able to earn over the whole of 2021 is €300, for at least 100 transactions.

Find all the details on the government's Cashless Italy website.

Member comments

  1. The receipt lottery sounds like a total pain in practice. Having to give your code to every retailer is just going to slow down transactions (just as contactless speeds things up). Will supermarkets and other retailers with loyalty schemes be able to link this to their own cards so there’s just one thing to scan at the till?

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


Italy expands €200 payment scheme and introduces public transport bonus

Italy's government will extend its proposed one-time €200 benefit to more people and introduce a €60 public transport payment, Italian media reported on Thursday.

Italy expands €200 payment scheme and introduces public transport bonus

Seasonal workers, domestic and cleaning staff, the self-employed, the unemployed and those on Italy’s ‘citizens’ income’ will be added to the categories of people in Italy eligible for a one-off €200 payment, ministers reportedly announced on Thursday evening.

The one-time bonus, announced earlier this week as part of a package of financial measures designed to offset the rising cost of living, was initially set to be for pensioners and workers on an income of less than €35,000 only.

However the government has now agreed to extend the payment to the additional groups following pressure from Italy’s labour, families, and regional affairs ministers and representatives of the Five Star Movement, according to news agency Ansa.

Pensioners and employees will reportedly receive the €200 benefit between June and July via a direct payment into their pension slip or pay packet.

For other groups, a special fund will be created at the Labour Ministry and the procedures for claiming and distributing payments detailed in an incoming decree, according to the Corriere della Sera news daily.

One new measure introduced at the cabinet meeting on Thursday is the introduction of a one-time €60 public transport bonus for students and workers earning below €35,000. The bonus is reportedly designed to encourage greater use of public transport and will take the form of an e-voucher that can be used when purchasing a bus, train or metro season pass.

Other provisions reportedly proposed in the energy and investment decree (decreto energia e investimenti), which is still being adjusted and amended, include extending energy bill discounts, cutting petrol excise duty and rolling on the deadline to claim Italy’s popular ‘superbonus 110’.

The €14 billion aid package, intended to lessen the economic impact of the war in Ukraine, will “fight the higher cost of living” and is “a temporary situation”, Prime Minister Mario Draghi has said.

The Local will report further details of the payment scheme once they become available following final approval of the decree.