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1. Electronic cards: an unrelenting run
In the field of electronic cards, payment cards stride forward: during 2002 their
number was superior to 46 millions, and there were more than 24.5 million debit cards - almost all of which POS suitable - and 21,8 million credit cards of which 53,34% actually active – which means those used at least once per year. The gap between issued credit cards and actually active cards does not seem to diminuish in time and probably this phenomenon should be taken into consideration for a careful analysis in order to understand the socio-psychological reasons at the base of it.
In 2002, more than 600 million ATM transactions and more than 885 million
POS transactions were accomplished by credit cards. Already in 2000, POS transactions had overcome ATM ones.
Thanks to its high potentiality in data logging and its suitability to different
applications, the electronic card stands nowadays as the representation of an important junction between two different worlds: on one side the world of payment systems, on the other the world of e-government – that is everything concerning the ICT based services supplied by the Administration to the citizens. The spreading of recognized and accepted technological standards should lead to various uses of the electronic card both in different context and for different applications.
2. Electronic payment main trends in Italy
- Slow start of the e-commerce and the fund-transfer process through the Internet; - Larger and larger diffusion of debit/credit cards, options more and more
- Increasing number of POS devices and POS transactions;
- Some delays in starting the Progetto Microcircuito (the italian payment card system
migration project), due to the needing of the entire bank system migration;
- Further delays in extending the numerous experimentations of electronic ID
and service cards to the whole Italian population;
- Introduction of mobile phones as payment instruments (charity fund raising,
SMS to obtain information or to take part in Tv quiz shows);
- Introduction of usage of credit/debit cards among young people.
3. FTI Fifth Observatory contents
The fifth FTI Chartaforum Italia Observatory is divided into four parts. The
main purpose of the first three parts, here synthetized, is pointing out the general issues regarding electronic payment systems. This schematization will be accomplished through the analysis of the marketing and commercial usage of networked applications and smart cards in the European and worldwide evolutive scenario.
The fourth part contains a synthesis of data concerning the e-cards circulation
in Europe and all over the world, and it also focuses on the evolution of bank payment instruments in Italy.
3.1. European and worldwide evolutive scenario
Paola Masi, from Banca d’Italia, analyses the evolution of electronic payment
instruments and systems, influenced, in the last ten years, by structural factors: the globalization of the market and of operators, the technological innovation on a vaste scale, the creation of integrated currency areas and the increasing number of a new kind of operators, not necessarily bank related.
By using the term “electronic money”, as Anna Omarini from Università
Bocconi explains, a heterogeneous whole of payment instruments can be identified. The main feature of which is that every transaction is seen as a part of one flux of information, and not as a physical exchange of payment instruments in substitution of money. Physical money will disappear and be transformed into high technology information representing the purchasing power present on the market. According to many sources, in the next few years, it should be possible to carry on an increasing part of retail business thanks to connection networks. As a consequence this will lead to an increasing competition among the providers of these payment services. In any case, electronic money (both traditional and more innovative credit cards) will undergo a progressive evolution.
According to Luigi Blasi and Gianluigi Rocca from SSB, financial organiza-
tions introducing a new range of products and services are now facing the neces-sity of decreasing the operative costs and improving the relationship with custom-
ers; all this in a high degree of competition. Nowadays, a new kind of products is drawing attention: electronic payment products such as prepaid reloadable or dis-posable cards – borrowed from telephony – and bill payments through the Inter-net, make transactions easier and guarantee greater security. The authors them-selves underline how much during the years the acceptance networks of payment cards have expanded making these cards intruments of customers’ everyday life.
In the paper written by CartaSi, it is pointed out that Italy has now overcome
the initial difficulties for being the first one to introduce national projects of migration, conforming itself to the level of other European countries. An Italian peculiarity was the complete and exhaustive implementation of the EMV standard: it included all the components and assured a longer term to investments, together with a greater stability of technical choices.
Nicola Cordone describes the history and the activities of SiNSYS company.
The company was founded on September 2003 out of three different partners: SSB (Italy), Interpay (Netherlands) and Banskys (Belgium). In their own national market each of these firms fills a sound position in the range of payment cards processing. SiNSYS offers secure acquiring and issuing services with high quality and competitive prices.
The new company operational model is divided into three Competence Centres:
Milan for the development and maintenance of issuing applications, Utrecht for the convertion of card and retailer portfolios from customers platforms to SiNSYS and the development platforms (essential interfaces in order to integrate SiNSYS solutions with the customers’ ones); Brussels for the development and maintenance of acquiring applications.
The aims for the next three years are: an incrasing number of transactions from
the actual 850 millions up to 1,5 billions within the year 2007 and an increasing number of the actual 18 million cards and 500,000 retailers up to 30 million cards and 800,000 retailers within the end of the same year.
In their essay, Danilo Magionesi and Giorgio Pacifici discuss the results and the
forecasts provided by experts during the summit Cartes & IT Security 2003
. Notwithstanding the repercussions of the general economy, the prospects in the field of cards and security networks are still optimistic: a considerable development is expected in the biennium 2004/2005. The important sectors of bank and mobile telecommunications are now being joined by two branches in the field of business security (badges) and of Public Administration (identification cards).
Further elements to be underlined: the preponderance of the Java platform –
with applications in the sectors of bank and mobile telecommunications -, the innovative employment of plastic cards in the bank sector, and the increasing interest attached by the Public Administration to ID and sanitary cards.
3.2. The market-wide networked applications
The e-banking project of Gruppo Monte dei Paschi di Siena (MPS Bank) is
reported by Stefano Bechini and Pietro Pescioni. In early 1999, after a testing period, the MPS Bank launched an e-banking project, as a result of the increasing diffusion of the Internet and the channels related to the validation and the strenghtening of open network technologies and security; the diffusion of business patterns related to new technologies; a growing use of new interface instruments. At first, the e-banking project was applied to distribution services, but then it became noticeable in many other fields and now it is also used to develop both the retail sector and the Group’s channels, and to put the bank processes on the web.
The UniWeb experience and the e-banking services of Unicredit Banca
d’Impresa are illustrated by Dario Piovera. The guidelines consist of the development of the bank in a web environment - including customers’ advantages in terms of performance and reduction of distribution and updating costs -; on-line operations to provide customers with the same information services and instruments they have at their disposal at any branches; the use of the digital signature in a common secure infrastructure as customers log on, sign and carry out their transactions.
Starting from such an experience, Alessandro Perego, Andrea Rangone,
Isabella Gandini, Riccardo Mangiaracina and Simone Prandin from the Università Politecnico in Milan, describe the Italian situation by analysing the e-commerce B2C market as well as its offer.
E-payments and secure systems are analysed by Antonella Vanara from SSB.
The first safe electronic payment systems were meant to protect data privacy during and after the transactions between consumers and tradesmen or tradesmen and banks, notably by using SSL protocol-based criptography.
Antonella Vanara gives an international overview on the credit cards that set
the new security standards for e-payments following the 3-Domain model: she hi-ghlights the current lack of definitive solutions allowing e-payments to spread and be accepted by the market, despite the different technological platforms that have been launched in latest years.
Luigi Bertolo from TIM illustrates the mobile commerce (m-commerce)
potential: actually the development of mobile technologies could support the birth of a new generation of more efficient and global payment systems.
Consumers’ knowledge of m-commerce will play a key role in its diffusion:
financial and mobile operators will have to produce an effective information campaign to promote the real advantages of the new system, so that consumers will definitively know that mobile phones are not only means of communication but also instruments for buying and accessing high value services and products.
As Andrea Mincolelli from Findomestic Banca explains, technology evolution
provides the basis in a market as competitive as the service one. The financial world is particularly influenced by the effects that technology evolution has on production logics and, notably, on service provision.
Sergio Crivelli and Sergio Tabanelli from Actalis focuse in their paper the is-
sues of the protection of the digital identity of operators and consumers in the fully digital environment based on Internet and new communication networks. 3.3. Smart Cards
The coordination role played by Associazione Progetto Microcircuito (Micro-
circuit Project Association) allowed relevant achievements in the national migra-tion of banking payment cards and microchip infrastructures towards the EMV standard – something that had already begun in other countries.
The Italian system aims at a complete migration of cards, POS and ATM ter-
minals, issuing and acquiring processes as well as authorizing processes towards EMV standard-based chip technology by the end of the year 2007.
The introduction of standards based on international specifications is one of the
most important boundary that is being overcome by the smart card industry in re-lation to both the communication protocols - used by smart cards to exchange data and information with the external world - and the way applications built in smart cards communicate with their own information systems. Nowadays EMV is actu-ally a standard in the banking system, Oberthur Card Systems claims, and un-equivocally defines the minimum functioning requirements for microchips to make payments and withdrawals and to provide real interoperability among smart cards, terminals and authorizing centres the world over.
According to Rita Miranda from ST Incard, the migration of banking cards to-
wards the smart card technology can be explained by the need to reduce the costs of transactions and frauds - in a sector that had always been considered as unse-cure -, by eliminating the need of on line connections for authorization processes. Furthermore, the migration responds to the opportunity to provide added value services, thus increasing the offer of payment services coming with applications that can stimulate the use of cards.
In the essay about multiservice applications and urban mobility, Francesco Or-
landini from TSP illustrates the potential scenario that could result from the intro-duction of microprocessor Mobility Cards and all the services that could be pro-vided to the users of the public urban means of transport; the author will also de-fine the technological architecture needed to produce such public transport ser-vices.
Samuele Villa from CIRSFID explains the regulations regarding about e-money
and e-payment systems. The European Union and the European Central Bank are collaborating to support studies and proposals analyzing the issues related to the development of electronic means of payment in general and electronic money in particular.
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