Revenues such as credit card fees, which have returned after many years, charges for sending money abroad – particularly after the capital controls were introduced – and commissions on credit and debit card transactions have significantly bolstered the takings of the banking sector in the first half of this year.
The improvement in the financial results of the four systemic banks in H1 came also thanks to a great extent to the drop in the cost of money through the decrease in interest rates on time deposits, which, combined with the reduction in the sector’s dependence on the expensive emergency liquidity assistance (ELA) mechanism, have increased profits. According to the data issued by the Bank of Greece on bank commissions, credit card fees now range around 30 euros per year. Fees are mainly imposed on new cards issued by banks – with more caution compared to the past – aimed at gradually replacing the old stock of cards either abolished through the various mergers within the domestic credit sector or which have expired and need replacing.
A large part of the commissions banks receive also come from transactions conducted via card terminals (POS). Although the average commission has dropped to 0.5-1.5 percent of turnover, the major penetration of plastic money has increased banks’ revenues.