SIA S.p.A. (SIA) has been operating in banking and finance in Italy since the mid-1970s. Over time, it has been increasing its share of the market and, with its mobile offering Jiffy, has entered the mobile space offering cashless transactions in Italy.
Now with Italy conquered, it wants to expand its empire.
In 2014, solutions provider SIA launched Jiffy. A mobile payment service, Jiffy only needed a contact’s mobile number to send and receive money.
Now, Jiffy has five million customers registered. It works with 130 banks and is connected to 80% of bank accounts in Italy. Moreover, it works with 2,000 retailers ranging from the small to thelarge.
Expansion does not stop there. SIA signed an agreement with card company BANCOMAT to launch the digital payment service BANCOMAT Pay.
This opens SIA up to another 37 million users, which would take it close to 100% of the Italian market. BANCOMAT Pay will integrate the Jiffy service allowing BANCOMAT users to utilise all of Jiffy’s services.
Speaking to CI, Marco Polissi, the head of Jiffy at SIA, says: “This is a good opportunity, not only for Jiffy, but I think for the entire country and BANCOMAT as well.
“We started a few years ago, reaching to one bank after the other. Now, with the agreement with BANCOMAT, we are very happy because Jiffy will become the solution for B2B and B2C. This is a great opportunity.”
“During our thirty years in business, we have consolidated our most precious asset – the trust of the market and the customer,” says Alessandro Zollo, chief executive of BANCOMAT.
“With BANCOMAT Pay, we intend to take our first step to entering the world of payment services of the future where it is not just cash that is dematerialised, but the card itself. Together with banks, we want to be the facilitators and champions of change and innovation for the country.”
Nicola Cordone, deputy CEO of SIA, says: “We have invested heavily in Jiffy, together with the 130-plus banks that already use it, and from today we are making its innovative features available to BANCOMAT to facilitate digitalisation and make the Italian country’s system even more efficient.”
Polissi adds: “It was a mutual convergence between two players; SIA and BANCOMAT. There was a natural synergy, two components that provided technical solutions for the other.”
Jiffy is not just for the retail sector anymore. Thanks to an agreement between SIA, UBI Banca and the ATB, Italians can use Jiffy to pay for public transport.
Season tickets can now be purchased using the mobile payment service. This is a first for Italy.
According to SIA, this is one of the many signs that alternative payments are growing. It states that “new digital payments” grew over 2016 and 2017 by 50% to stand at €46bn ($52bn) in 2017. Also, digital transactions via smartphone increased by 60% to hit €6.7bn by the end of 2017.
Natascia Noveri, marketing manager at UBI Banca, says: “The transport sector is going through a period of considerable change and it is paying great attention to innovation in the field of digital payments. We are studying a totally new and user-friendly user experience with ATB and SIA.
“We believe that users should be assisted in those circumstances in which ease-of-use, speed and simplicity are key factors in making payments.”
Cashless transactions in Italy now; Europe in the future?
Why is Jiffy doing so well when there are plenty of players offering cashless transactions in Italy? Why has it stuck out of the crowd?
“The market in P2P and P2B is very congested. Jiffy has a couple of advantages,” Polissi explains. “One is that a customer does not need to make a new account to use Jiffy. The second point is the solution does not disintermediate banks.”
With close to 100% of Italy now being able to use Jiffy, is this the right time for SIA to expand the service elsewhere?
Polissi concludes: “In Italy, this is a beautiful opportunity. This is a model that can be applied in other countries. Of course we want to expand outside of Italy soon.”