Greece was severely affected by the Eurozone crisis, due to government overspending, tax evasion, and a budget deficit that eventually spiraled out of control. Many banks faced liquidity problems and loan defaults, which had a direct impact on the cards and payments industry. With restrictions placed by the Greek government on cash withdrawals, consumers fear that banks might freeze available funds. This has driven debit card transaction volumes at point of sale (POS) terminals, which registered a review-period (2012-16) compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 58.9%.
Government announced a number of initiatives to revive the economy, including cuts in public sector employment, defense, and other government spending. In 2010, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the European Central Bank (ECB), and the European Commission (EC) announced a three-year aid package worth $115.7bn (EUR110bn) to bail out the Greek economy. A second bailout of $136.8bn (EUR130bn) followed in February 2012.
In August 2015, the EU approved a $90.5bn (EUR86bn) bailout, provided the Greek government impose austerity measures including a tax increase, public spending cuts, and efforts to tackle tax evasion by encouraging electronic payments. With the anticipated economic revival and the injection of liquidity into the banking sector, the Greek payment card market is anticipated to gradually shift towards sustainable growth over the forecast period (2016-20).
Despite the financial crisis, Greece’s e-commerce space is one of the fastest-growing in Europe. It grew from $2.9bn (EUR2.8bn) in 2012 to $4.9bn (EUR4.7bn) in 2016, at a review-period CAGR of 13.6%. The preferred mode of payment for e-commerce transactions was payment cards, which accounted for 35% of the total transaction value. Digital and mobile wallets, as well as carrier billing, are gaining prominence in the country, collectively accounting for 28.4% of total e-commerce transaction value in 2016.
Ministry of Finance is also encouraging the use of debit and credit cards for payments by providing tax allowances on payment card usage. Tax payers can get additional allowances on using payment cards for 80% of expenditure annually. The ministry has also proposed incentives for businesses by reducing the tax rate on earnings from sales via payment cards. This will boost the usage of debit and credit cards and help resolve the problem of tax evasion.
The report "The Cards and Payments Industry in Greece: Emerging trends and opportunities to 2020" provides top-level market analysis, information and insights into the Greek cards and payments industry.
In particular, this report provides the following -
- 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 credit transfers, cash, direct debit, payment cards and cheques. It also, includes an overview of the country’s key alternative payment instruments.
- E-commerce market analysis and payment methods.
- 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 in this report: Piraeus Bank, National Bank of Greece, Alpha Bank, Eurobank Ergasias, Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Diners Club
- In the wake of the economic crisis, the Greek government was forced to implement austerity measures to gain access to a $95.5bn (?86bn) bailout package from the IMF, the EU, and the ECB. Consequently, the government imposed capital controls and took a number of measures to arrest the outward flow of money, curb tax evasion, and encourage electronic payments, including restrictions on cash withdrawals at ATMs, remittances, and the use of payment cards abroad. The latest measure is the compulsory acceptance of card-based payments at retail outlets and by certain categories of professional (such as doctors, lawyers, electricians, and plumbers) effective from January 1, 2016. However, the restrictions imposed on cash withdrawals and fund transfers were relaxed in August 2016 to increase liquidity in the banking system.
- To boost electronic payments, in November 2016 the Greek government proposed to provide tax benefits and other incentives to individuals and businesses for using payment cards. These include additional tax benefits to those who use cards for more than 80% of their total annual spending, and tax discounts on medical expenses paid with payment cards. The ministry has also proposed incentives for businesses by reducing the tax rate on earnings from sales via payment cards. The government also proposes to make it compulsory for businesses to pay their employees through a bank account if their annual salary is above $526.10 (?500).
- While the government has placed restrictions on transactions from international online retailers, domestic e-commerce activities are outside the boundaries of the rules. To benefit from this, payment companies are introducing new online payment solutions for domestic online purchases. The latest of these was the June 2016 introduction of Masterpass by Mastercard. Masterpass stores all of a customer’s payment cards in a single location. This service is supported by Alpha Bank, Piraeus Bank, Eurobank Ergasias, AXA Insurance, Leroy Merlin, Sephora, and Wind.
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.