Payments Landscape in Greece: Opportunities and Risks to 2022

Payments Landscape in Greece: Opportunities and Risks to 2022


Greece was severely affected by the Eurozone crisis, due to government overspending, tax evasion and a budget deficit that eventually spiraled out of control. To revive the economy, the country received conditional bailout packages from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the EU and the European Central Bank; as a result, it had to enact a number of capital control measures in June 2015 to arrest the outward flow of money, curb tax evasion, encourage electronic payments, restrict cash withdrawals at ATMs and introduce the compulsory acceptance of card-based payments by retailers, as well as certain categories of professionals such as doctors, lawyers, electricians and plumbers.

Consequently, there was a rise in the use of electronic payments; this is evident from the fact that the number of card payment transactions recorded a significant review-period CAGR of 68.2%. Debit cards are the most popular card type, with every Greek consumer owning at least one, and are also increasingly being used for payments, as consumers are gradually switching to debit cards for low-value transactions. High banking penetration and the combined efforts of banks and government bodies to promote electronic payments and financial inclusion have led to its strong adoption. Consequently, debit card payments’ transaction volume, value and frequency of use grew at significant respective review-period CAGRs of 103.8%, 84.1% and 88.6%.

Credit and charge cards are not very popular in Greece; its penetration stood at 33.5 cards per 100 individual in 2018. Amid uncertain economic conditions and growing unemployment, banks were forced to adopt a cautious approach to issuing credit cards. This resulted in a decline in the number of credit and charge cards issued up to 2015. However, with capital infusion and strict austerity measures adopted by the government in 2015, the economy and the banking sector are gradually on a path to recovery.

The Greek e-commerce market is currently in a growth phase, increasing from €3.3bn ($3.7bn) in 2014 to €5.2bn ($5.9bn) in 2018, at a review-period CAGR of 12.2%. Factors contributing to this growth included the availability of wide range of products and services and discounted prices offered by online retailers that helped serve price-sensitive consumers in Greece. Furthermore, the availability of various payment options including virtual cards and alternative payment solutions (PayPal, Viva Wallet, paysafecard, Masterpass) also helped in promoting e-commerce purchases in the country.

The report Payments Landscape in Greece: Opportunities and Risks to 2022, provides detailed analysis of market trends in the Greek cards and payments industry. It provides values and volumes for a number of key performance indicators in the industry, including cash, cards, credit transfers, direct debit, and cheques during the review-period (2014-18e). The report also analyzes various payment card markets operating in the industry and provides detailed information on the number of cards in circulation, transaction values and volumes during the review-period and over the forecast-period (2018e-22f). It also offers information on the country's competitive landscape, including market shares of issuers and schemes. The report brings together research, modeling, and analysis expertise to allow banks and card issuers to identify segment dynamics and competitive advantages. The report also covers detailed regulatory policies and recent changes in regulatory structure.

The report provides -

  • Current and forecast values for each market in the Greek cards and payments industry, including debit, credit, and charge cards
  • Detailed insights into payment instruments including cash, cards, credit transfers, direct debit, and cheques. It also, includes an overview of the country's key alternative payment instruments
  • E-commerce market analysis
  • Analysis of various market drivers and regulations governing the Greek cards and payments industry
  • Detailed analysis of strategies adopted by banks and other institutions to market debit, credit, and charge cards
Companies mentioned: National Bank of Greece, Piraeus Bank, Alpha Bank, Eurobank, Mastercard, Visa, Diners Club, and American Express

  • After reviving Greece’s economy, the government relaxed some of its capital control measures, effective from October 2018. A new law removed the cap on ATM cash withdrawals, which was previously capped at €5,000 ($5,727.74); increased the cash limit that can be carried abroad by Greek consumers to €10,000 ($11,455.48) per trip, from a previous cap of €3,000 ($3,436.64); and revised the daily fund transfer limit abroad by businesses to €100,000 ($114,554.77) from €40,000 ($45,821.91). However, the cap on cash transactions for purchases of goods and services remains unchanged.
  • To facilitate instant real-time transfer, Hellenic Bank Association member banks launched two new services called IRIS Mobile Payments and IRIS Online Payments in May 2017. IRIS Mobile Payments enables consumers to make peer-to-peer (P2P) or peer-to-business (P2B) instant transfers of up to €500 ($572.77) per day per registered payer. Consumers are only required to provide the beneficiary’s mobile number for individuals, or the VAT number for a business or self-employed person. The service is offered by Piraeus Bank, National Bank of Greece (NBG), Alpha Bank and Eurobank. Similarly, under the IRIS Online Payment service, consumers can transfer up to €12,500 ($14,319.35) by providing the name of the beneficiary’s bank and their IBAN account number. Alpha Bank, NBG, Eurobank, Piraeus Bank and Attica Bank currently offer this service.
  • To promote electronic payments in the country, the government passed a law stating that from 1 January 2017, all employed and unemployed taxpayer individuals in Greece are eligible for tax deductions on their annual income for purchases made via debit and credit cards. While the purchase of goods, electronics, footwear and clothing, and medical services and supplies are entitled to tax benefits, deduction can’t be availed on utility bills, landlines and mobile phones, heating, rent or loan repayments. Furthermore, the government revised the cap on cash transaction for purchases to €500 ($572.77) on January 1, 2017 from the previous €1,500 ($1,718.32); this means Greek consumers have to pay for goods and services worth above €500 electronically with payment cards.
Reasons to buy
  • Make strategic business decisions, using top-level historic and forecast market data, related to the Greek cards and payments industry and each market within it.
  • Understand the key market trends and growth opportunities in the Greek cards and payments industry.
  • Assess the competitive dynamics in the Greek cards and payments industry.
  • Gain insights into marketing strategies used for various card types in Greece.
  • Gain insights into key regulations governing the Greek cards and payments industry.

Market Overview
Executive Summary
Card-based Payments
E-commerce Payments
Alternative Payments
Payment Innovations
Payments Infrastructure & Regulation

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