Cashback and ranking: the rules I didn't write to you

Cashback and ranking: the rules I didn't write to you
From the early hours, a certain skepticism began to emerge about the deregulation from which the state cashback was born. The problem is not related to the project itself (contested more than anything else on a political level), nor to the implementation by PagoPA (where apart from the initial hiccup linked to SPIDs, the rest did not give particular problems). set of rules that should project the project towards its mission.

The rules are the poles within which a game takes place, and this is: the if the 10% refund on digital payments is simply a economic maneuver that encourages the abandonment of cash, the "extra" prize of 1500 euros is a real competition that has all the trappings of gamification. But games without the right rules easily become the games of the “smart”, of those looking for the shortcut, of those who want to win regardless of the pleasure of participating. When the game loses its ethical profile, the goal is lost too.

And it becomes less fun.

The cashback ranking

Although not to date there is still an "official" ranking, if not on the smartphones of those who have already exceeded 50 transactions in the first 15 days of the year, the data have leaked. According to what emerged, the first in the ranking would have already largely exceeded 300 transactions, while to remain among the first 100 thousand (ie those who will benefit from the 1500 euro bonus at the end of the semester) it is necessary to have set aside at least thirty payments.

Simulated interface

If it is entirely legitimate to have up to 4-5 transactions credited every day (a couple of coffees, a shopping spree in one shop, a shopping spree in another shop, a few extras like clothing or gasoline), much less It is legitimate to think that 25-30 transactions valid for the purposes of the competition can be made every single day. Or rather, they can only be done if you pay expenses that are not your own, but those of others.

It is not difficult to understand how it works: if Tizio owns a bar, every time he receives a euro for a coffee sold he can make a payment from 1 euro to himself (perhaps with Satispay, with commission costs equal to zero) and pocket the euro instead of putting it in cash. By doing so, it will be very easy to reach even higher figures, all in the face of regular issuance of a receipt. Is this a prohibited action? No. Is this an allowed action? Where it is not prohibited, it is permitted. Is it an action that can stimulate play and mass participation? No, on the contrary.

This is why the lack of regulation creates a vulnerability of serious potential for the project. Because when a game becomes a game for crafty ones, either the competition opens to whoever finds the best performing trick, or you give up at the start by returning to cash and putting everything else aside.

Which ones are the cashback rules

The rules are those indicated in the FAQ of the service, but the FAQs are nothing more than the translation of the article of the Decree 24 November 2020, n.156, relating to the "Special refund":

1. Without prejudice to the reimbursement provided for in articles 6 and 7, to the first hundred thousand members who, in each of the periods referred to in article 6, paragraph 2, have totaled the highest number of transactions settled with payment instruments electronics, a special reimbursement of 1,500.00 euros is attributed. With the same number of transactions carried out, the participant whose last transaction bears a time stamp prior to that of the last transaction carried out by the participants who have totaled the same number of transactions is placed in the ranking. At the end of each reference period, the count of the number of transactions settled with electronic payment instruments starts from zero for each of the members.

2. Special reimbursements are issued within 60 days from the end of each payment period. referred to in article 6, paragraph 2.

The rules, contrary to what some merchants may suggest, do not provide for:

any expenditure ceiling or concomitant transactions; no minimum amount of expenditure, or reiteration thereof; no maximum number of operations that can be performed in any unit of time; no limitation in splitting the shopping (at the supermarket, for example, you could make a payment for every single item purchased if only you could meet a patient at the checkout). Above all, in the decree there is no trace of retaliation against any abuses, a measure that could at least discourage the most exaggerated practices and restore the priority of the "will of the legislator" over the "cunning" of citizens in search of bugs. A possible foothold is in this passage:

Having regard to Article 1, paragraphs 288 and 289, of the law of 27 December 2019, n. 160, which provides for the adoption [...] of one or more decrees to define the conditions, cases and criteria for the attribution of such reimbursement, also in relation to the volumes and frequency of purchases, forms of voluntary membership, electronic payment instruments and relevant

activities, again for the purposes of attributing the reimbursement.

In short, there are margins for intervening on the "volumes and frequency" of purchases, as well as on the " relevant activities "(for example by eliminating cards for online purchases). There is room for maneuver, if there is the will.

When many people have exceeded 50 transactions and it will be clear to everyone which is the ranking within which it is possible to compete (up to 50 transactions is not possible have free access to the updated ranking), it will be understood if the 1500 euro bonus is a deal for smart people or if it is legitimate to think that gamification has really created a virtuous system to compress cash and push the traceability of payments. But some intervention from above will probably be needed, by those who, after having participated in the launch of the Cashless Italia Plan, also care about its care over time.

A fragile executive will not help in this phase, but we can at least hope for the technicians who guarantee the continuity of the projects. Because if you want to avoid imploding the Plan, you have to give this “game” rules.

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