Greek banks have caved in to government pressure, freezing customer charges for a series of banking services, at least until the end of the year.
While Development Minister Adonis Georgiadis said on Thursday in Parliament that this suspension will only apply over the next couple of months, its actual duration will be determined by the decisions each bank makes in the next few weeks, following Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ demand last week for more rational charges. Government officials argue that the suspension will apply until further notice.
Georgiadis went on to threaten to take banks to the Competition Commission if he spots any cartel practices in the imposition of charges. For the time being there has been no such complaint to the watchdog, but this cannot be ruled out if the charges are seen to have been imposed simultaneously by banks.
Based on this moratorium, the charges announced by National Bank will not apply. They concern the replacement of lost, stolen or worn-out cards, balance inquiries from other banks’ cash machines, ATM mini-statements, PIN reissuing, and debit card renewals.
The other banks have been implementing similar charges since 2018, but several had been planning to increase them as well as to introduce new charges for hitherto free services. Those plans have also been frozen until further notice.
For instance, a one-off charge for the non-automatic reissue of a lost card was introduced by Piraeus Bank in October 2018 and Alpha and Eurobank in November 2018. These charges will not be increased as originally planned.
Also on Thursday, Interbanking Systems (DIAS), which interconnects banks’ cash machine networks, expressed its support for credit institutions’ recent commitment to revise their charging policies regarding online payments. DIAS said that its charges for the DIASATM service come to a maximum of 6 cents per transaction.