A group of Italians is making a #NoCashTrip across Europe

As summer approaches and people start to plan their holidays, inevitably at least one person you know will say they are planning to hike/cycle/train their way across Europe. The aim of these trips is invariably to sample the different cultures on the mainland and to broaden one’s horizons. But now, a group of Italians is trying to broaden people’s minds within a payments context.

The founders of #NoCashTrip including Geronimo Emili, the founder of CashlessWay; Gianluigi De Stefano, chief of the #NoCashTrip crew since its inception; Nicola Cavalazzi, a filmmaker, are going to be making their way across Europe next month relying solely on digital payments. #NoCash.


A challenge from the start

At first glance, one may think that wouldn’t be an issue in the slightest. After all, Europeans made three billion contactless transactions in the last 12 months – surely it will be a smooth trip?

Emili thinks otherwise. In fact, the trip will be challenging from the get-go. Starting in his home country of Italy will be tough he says, “In Italy the 83% of transactions are made by cash,” before adding that the relationship with banknotes run deep.

Germany is also unlikely to be a hassle-free ride. A strong cash-based economy, combined with an ageing population that prefers the physical and relatively uncomplicated nature of physical money will pose a challenge to the team. As Emili points out, Germans “don’t use cards gladly”.

But it’s challenges such as these that are the main reason for the trip in the first place. “The CashlessWay’s mission is to promote the value of electronic payments to a large audience,” said Emili.

“What we do, in addition to our conferences and seminars, is create consumer-oriented initiatives. We want to understand how different countries think about digital payments.”

Over the course of the trip, Emili and his team will look at countries are best-performing, which are not, and why.


Meet fintech companies

As part of the trip, the #NoCashTrip also plans to speak to some of the fintech companies and consider one of the biggest issues facing the world: financial inclusion.

Figures from the Financial Exclusion Initiative indicate that rates of financial exclusion are much lower in Europe than in other geographies, just a single country — the Netherlands — can boast a financial inclusion rate of 100%.

One of the main objectives of #NoCashTrip Europe is to understand what territories are operating with virtuous financial inclusion policies, and which companies have understood that reputation is a tangible asset, thus choosing to follow a communication strategy addressing the concrete needs of citizens.


The itinerary 

The 13-day road trip car will set off from the Italian town of Bergamo before making the 5000km way through Austria, Germany, Denmark, Holland and France, to arrive on June 27th in Liverpool, England. Once in Liverpool, the trip will end with a plenary session at the Pay360 Digital Payments, the Congress on payments arranged by the English Emerging Payments Association.

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