Online banking services are generally seen as a way to increase competition amongst banks and to provide better services to consumers. No particular reservations are made in this regard. On the contrary regulators are generally speaking focused at fostering the development of such services.
A specific statutory or regulatory framework governing online banking is currently absent. However, online banking services may entail the exercise of banking activity - i.e. the collection of savings from the public with the a repayment obligation exercised jointly with credit services. If this is the case, online banking services shall be provided only by banks authorized by the Bank of Italy to exercise banking activity.
The authorization is subject to the conditions listed under article 14 TUB. Among others, it is required that banks are incorporated either as joint stock company (società per azioni) or limited liability cooperative by shares (società cooperativa per azioni a responsabilità limitata) and that they have their registered offices in the Italian territory. Specific rules shall however apply to banks established in a EU Member State. Moreover, banks are required to have a minimum initial capital equal to EUR10 million or EUR5 million depending on the type of concerned bank.
The provision of services that do not fall under the banking activity reserve may however require other types of authorization. This is, for instance, the case of e-wallet services.
According to the 2016 annual report of the Bank of Italy, by the end of 2016 62% of Italian families were given the opportunity to access their deposits via Internet and 54% of them could order banking operations via Internet. The use of such services is then increasing amongst Italian consumers.