Christmas Cashback: goodbye to 150 euros, here’s how much we’ll get [UPDATED 24/12/20]

The accounts of the Christmas Cashback do not add up because there are not enough funds and, calculator in hand, even those for the Cashback 2021 will be insufficient.

Update 24/12/2020: The latest official data released by the Government tell us that, as of December 21, subscribers to the Cashback program are 5.3 million. In the light of the new data, our prediction is confirmed as too optimistic: if all users were to succeed in making 10 transactions necessary to accrue the Christmas Cashback (provided that the problems in the registration of transactions are overcome), then the average refund could drop to about 40 euros.

The refund of 10% up to a maximum of 150 euros on all purchases made with electronic payment instruments valid and registered for the Christmas Cashback becomes every day more and more a mirage, a goal to which Italians should start to say goodbye.

Not only because the inefficiencies of the IO app still continue, in particular of the Wallet section where valid payment methods must be entered (without which the cashback is not even counted), but also because now it turns out that there is not enough money to guarantee the full refund for everyone. The funds allocated by the Government with the Decree of the Ministry of Finance of November 24 last year amount to 227.9 million euros, insufficient to pay the full bonus to all those who have enrolled in the Cashback Program.

Christmas Cashback: what the Decree says

Christmas Cashback is regulated by article 3 of the Decree, with a specific allocation of funds that is different from that of the two ordinary six-monthly cashbacks that will start on January 1, 2021.

Article 3 states: "The allocation of the reimbursement provided for in article 7 shall take place within the limits of the amount of 227.9 million euros. In the event that the aforementioned financial resource does not allow for the full payment of the reimbursement due, this is proportionally reduced".

The same decree, therefore, takes into consideration from the outset the hypothesis that the money might not be enough and provides an unequivocal answer: there will not be a refinancing of the fund, but the available money will be distributed proportionally with reimbursements reduced with respect to what was initially foreseen.

Christmas cashback: what the calculator says

At this point we enter the dark and smoky realm of hypotheses, where the only flashlight that can light the way is the dear old calculator.

Beginning with the data currently certain: at the date of December 11, 2020 the members of the Cashback Plan are 3.6 million and, in the unrealistic assumption that they do not increase, they will have 227.9 million refunds.

The division is easy: if all 3.6 million will be able to make 1.500 euros of valid purchases by December 31, the individual refunds will amount to 63 euros and 30 cents.

The fact that not everyone will have the opportunity to spend 1,500 euros in such a short time should not reassure much, because by that date the subscribers to the program will be many more.

The IO app downloads, in fact, amount to 8.7 million today (here all the steps). Some users will likely have downloaded the app multiple times, perhaps on two phones (one Android and one iOS). But it's unlikely that the real users are less than 8 million.

Of these 8 million, of course, not all of them will want to participate in the Cashback program, but no less than two-thirds of these users have downloaded the app after November 28, when the Cashback Decree came into force. If we assume that Christmas Cashback enrollees are today even only 4 million already the refund drops even further.

Cashback 2021, is there money?"

You could say that Christmas Cashback was a test, and it's true. The government said it from the beginning that December would be the month of the experimental phase of the program. Although no one would have imagined such a poor experiment.

How are things for the ordinary cashback, the semi-annual one that starts next year? For the first semester 1,375 million have been allocated, to which must be removed the 150 million necessary to pay the "Super Cashback" of 1,500 euros for the 100,000 Italians who will make more transactions.

Dividing the remaining 1,217 million for the maximum reimbursement of 150 euros per semester we obtain a maximum number of 8,113,333 users. Which is still less than the current users (8.7 million) of the IO app. Not to mention, then, that it is possible to sign up for cashback without IO and without SPID.

And with six-monthly cashback there will be one more problem: 1,500 euros of transitions in six months means an average of 250 euros of purchases per month. Considering that among the valid purchases (here is a clarification on the matter) there is also the shopping at the supermarket, it is very easy that many people will reach the maximum spending target.