Contactless payment with a smartphone.

How the government cashback bonus works

What is the government cashback initiative? Find out how you can benefit from it.

5 min read

Update—July, 1 2021: Following the approval of the June 30, 2021 Decree n. 99, the Cashback initiative was put on hold for the second half of 2021. Refunds for the first half of 2021 will be paid out as follows:

- The cashback bonus (up to €150) will be credited within 60 days from the end of the program, i.e. from June 30, 2021.

- If you are eligible for the Super Cashback bonus, you will receive your refund for the purchases you made between January 1 and June 30, 2021 within November 30, 2021.

In December, the Italian government will kick off a bonus initiative to encourage customers to pay with cards and other digital payment methods. After getting approval from the Chamber of Deputies on October 12, 2020, the “August Decree” was signed into law. The Government Cashback initiative will start on an experimental basis on December 1, 2020. Those who sign up can start getting a cash refund on a percentage of the transactions made using electronic money. But what exactly does this mean? Let’s get down to the details.

What is the Government Cashback?

Basically, it’s a point system that is activated depending on the number of digital payments made over half a year. Participation is voluntary and is activated when you register. All Italian residents over the age of 18 are eligible to receive the bonus. The initiative’s mission is to fight tax evasion and the shadow economy by promoting traceable electronic payments.

The system allows for:

  • A 10% refund for those who pay in-store, via an app or by card
  • A cash reward called Super Cashback for those who have made multiple electronic purchases

Part of a larger project called the Italian Cashless project, the initiative was presented for the first time in October 2019. More rewards await on top of the Government and Super Cashback bonuses. The project also includes additional initiatives such as the Receipt Lottery, which is linked to the new electronic receipts that will launch in January 2021.

All the details regarding the cashback bonus initiative are coming soon in the new regulation that the government expects to approve by the end of November.

All the info you need on cashback and electronic money

With a cashback, you get a partial refund of the money you spend to make purchases online. Simply put, it’s a system that renders you eligible for a small refund, or small amount of cash back, for every purchase you make.

“Electronic money” is the term used for all payment methods other than cash that are made through electronic and traceable circuits such as credit and debit cards, smartphone payment apps, and bank transfers.

How to receive the cashback bonus from the government

Want to participate in the government’s cashback program? All you need to do is sign up and follow the payment rules set out in the decree.

How to sign up for the cashback program

As the Italian Data Protection Authority has recently greenlit the use of the IO app (the same one used for the holiday bonus), it’s likely that it will be the interface that both citizens and the Public Administration will use to manage the government cashback bonus. There will also be the opportunity to use other systems made available by operators affiliated with PagoPA. To use the IO app, you’ll first need to get access to it by using your SPID credentials or by entering the data on your electronic identity card. Next, you’ll need to provide your Italian tax code, the cards or apps you want to use to participate in the program (you can use more than one), and, as soon as it's possible, the bank account number (IBAN) where you would like to receive the refund every half year. The refund can be received on any IBANs belonging to the SEPA region. You can cancel your participation in the program at any time, but will lose all the points you’ve accumulated.

How to receive the cashback bonus

Simply make purchases at any brick-and-mortar store that offers digital payment methods (i.e. allows you to pay by card or smartphone) to get a 10% refund on your purchases. Note that purchases made online or those related to one’s profession or business are not included.

Aside from online or professional purchases, no other categories are excluded — you can use digital payment methods to pay for everything from clothing, to health care, to food (the government has specified several times that even “coffee counts”). 

It’s also necessary to:

  • Complete a minimum number of transactions. For the testing phase in the month of December 2020, this minimum is set at 10. From January 2021 on, a minimum threshold of 50 transactions per semester is envisaged.
  • Respect the spending limit. The limit has been set at €3,000 per year (€1,500 per semester, therefore a maximum annual bonus of €300). Plans are in the works, however, to increase the limit. For now, the cashback bonus eligibility limit is €1500 per semester (with a maximum bonus of €150).

Every time you use a registered card or app to make an in-store purchase, the required data such as the date and the purchase amount will be transmitted by PagoPA, which manages the transaction for the cashback system. The system will recognize the payment methods registered on the IO app and will consider the number of transactions carried out and the amount to calculate the transaction limit and total expenditure.

How the government cashback refund will be processed

Refunds will be paid out in July 2021 and January 2022. The process will be managed by the Italian Insurance Regulators (CONSAP) and the refund will be paid directly into the bank account listed at the time of registration (or during a later stage) on the IO app.

Digital payments with N26, the 100% mobile bank

With N26, the 100% mobile bank, you can conveniently do all your banking directly from your smartphone using a simple and easy-to-use app. Each account includes the distinctive N26 Mastercard. Hold it to the POS for contactless payment or connect it to your digital wallet to make payments directly from your smartphone. The perfect solution for cashless payments! If you want to participate in the government cashback program, simply register your N26 Mastercard on the IO app to receive a refund for all eligible payments made with N26.

Piqued your interest? Take a look at our accounts and find the one that is right for you: open an account in just a few minutes from your smartphone, without having to leave your home!

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