Six out of 10 Greeks have delayed paying at least one utility bill over the last 12 months, and in seven out of 10 of those cases it’s not just a one-off incident but a regular occurrence. Some of those who eventually do pay their bills do so with borrowed money, mainly from friends, according to the findings of the European Consumer Payment Report 2019.
The survey of 24,000 consumers in 24 European countries by Swedish company Intrum has brought to light a number of worrying trends on the European level, such as a return to excessive consumer borrowing, something that is spurred considerably by easy access to credit cards and loans obtained via the internet or the telephone, for example.
The report showed that 61 percent of Greeks had failed to pay at least one bill in the previous 12 months, which is the highest rate among the 24 countries surveyed and almost twice the European average of 33 percent. Worse, 68 percent of those who failed to pay on time said they did so regularly, also the highest rate in Europe, against an average rate of 47 percent.
Furthermore, Greeks also had the highest rate (40 percent) of people who had borrowed money or maxed out their credit cards. The European average stands at just 24 percent, based on data from the 24 countries surveyed by Intrum.
Greek consumers scored badly in grasping basic financial terms too. Almost half of those surveyed (48 percent), the second highest in Europe, were unable to understand and relate to elementary economic terms such as budget, interest rate, credit capacity, floating rate and inflation.
Given all of the above findings, it comes as no suprise that Greece ranks last according to the economic welfare index that Intrum has created for the first time and included in its ECPR report. On a scale of 1 to 10, where 10 corresponds to the optimum performance, Greece scores just 5.30 points. Germany tops the chart with a score of 6.89 points.