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UniCredit in digital security push to convert Italians to e-commerce

by Andrea Biondi

Roberto Nicastro, general manager of UniCredit, unveiled two new projects during a conference in Capri.One project is to create, along with other banks, an “Italian e-wallet” to facilitate e-commerce payments, as well as a new “super-digital and super-secure” bank card developed for online purchases in lieu of a regular credit card, which Italians use only very reluctantly.

For years the two-day event, “Cambiare X Cambiare” organized by Between, a consulting firm, has been a meeting place for the giants of telecommunications and has more recently started to focus extensively on digital and innovation. Both are areas where “a bank has much to say,” according to Nicastro, explaining that the e-wallet (a sort of Italian PayPal), issued by his and other banks, will debut in January, while the My Pay card hit the market on Monday.

All of which, he said, signals UniCredit's focus on the theme “that represents a driving force in the 2014-2018 industrial plan. There are €4.5 billion available for investments” under this program, of which “one and a half billion will go towards capital innovation.”

Nicastro noted that 25% of Italians bank customers who use the Internet for home banking are ours” and that “technology and the Internet have been a big opportunity for us for some time,” adding that UniCredit is gaining new customers at the rate of “120,000 per month. Of these, 50,000 are part of Fineco,” the group's direct multichannel bank.