BUSINESS

Small businesses dodge card payments

DIMITRA MANIFAVA

TAGS: Economy

Small enterprises use all kinds of excuses in a bid to be paid in cash instead of by credit or debit card, because they don’t want to have any sums in their bank accounts that could be confiscated due to their debts, the Hellenic Confederation of Professionals, Craftsmen & Merchants (GSEVEE) revealed at a press conference in Athens on Tuesday.

Excuses about broken card terminals (PoS), technical problems or the internet not working are unfortunately familiar to any Greek or tourist who has tried to make a card payment at a small business in this country. As GSEVEE officials reminded journalists at the press conference, enterprises are not allowed to have a bank account that is protected from confiscation, and the use of a card terminal requires the use of a bank account.

A survey by the Institute of Small Enterprises of GSEVEE showed yesterday that small companies receive just a third of payments by electronic means even though in July almost two-thirds of them (65.3 percent) owned a card terminal – in the commerce sector that figure stood at 81.7 percent.

GSEVEE president Giorgos Kavathas noted yesterday that those figures do not mean transactions are not conducted legally, as receipts are issued when the payments are made in cash too. Of course no one can rule out the possibility that a large number of entrepreneurs do not issue receipts for cash payments, and give their customers a discount for not having to pay tax.

“The state’s inability to offer a minimum level of protection from confiscations serves as a counterincentive for providing for electronic means of payment,” argued GSEVEE, while repeating its calls for enterprises to be allowed to have a protected bank account, as is the case for taxpayers.

The GSEVEE survey has also found that the commission banks are paid for online transactions has been reduced: Only 33 percent of companies say they pay more than 1 percent to banks, down from 53 percent in the previous survey. The majority (43.5 percent) say they pay a commission of between 0.5 and 1 percent for card transactions.

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