Following announcements by Italian banks in recent weeks of impending widespread NFC deployment in Italy in early 2013, the Italian postal system has made its intentions clear of becoming NFC friendly towards the end of next year.
According to Poste Italiane, its phone division has already equipped their phones with NFC technology operated by the post office’s banking component. Customers will be able to purchase postal products and pay for sending packages up to 25 Euros (33 USD) through their mobile payment devices.
From NFC World:
“Poste Italiane will be the first to offer its customers the full service platform – an exclusive PosteMobile SIM card that will allow you to use the phone as a means of payment in stores and authorized post offices,” said the company in a statement. “The network of post offices will adopt NFC technology to accept payment by mobile phone for postal services, financial services and topping up mobile phones and Postepay prepaid credit cards.”
Poste Italiane believes that the changing payments landscape to more non-traditional devices is part of a natural evolution and the post office does not fall further behind consumer trends. The move to NFC technology has larger implications than just the buying and selling of postal products. The Poste Italiane is responsible for a number of government services and identity verification for people applying for passports, licenses and health cards and by allowing NFC, the post office hopes to provide more payment possibilities for its client base.
The move by the post office is following an emerging trend in Europe with the UK and Russian postal systems also deploying NFC capabilities and technologies for their respective customers. Although the payment innovation is commendable, global postal systems still face financial sustainability concerns due to the consumer migration to email and other internet based communication systems. While NFC might succeed in the European market, the post office will not be a major driver in the technology’s growth.
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