Card use set to soar 33 percent next year

Card use set to soar 33 percent next year

Banks are raising their estimates for plastic money transactions in 2017 to 20 billion euros, compared to an estimate for 2016 of 15 billion euros. This concerns transactions made by Greeks using debit and credit cards and not including those by foreign visitors, which would raise the sum for this year to 17 billion.

The 5-billion-euro growth estimate, or 33 percent year-on-year, is partly based on new taxation regulations that require salary workers, pensioners and farmers to reach a quota of 10-20 percent (depending on their earnings) of their income in card payments to qualify for a tax discount of 1,900-2,100 euros per year.

Banks say this measure is a particularly positive development as it will help more people to get better acquainted with using cards to make payments.

Although internet transactions are still rather small in value and “will not make a difference,” as one bank official said, “the measure will have a favorable impact on the market as it will maintain the growth trend for electronic transactions” that has been recorded since the imposition of capital controls in June 2015.

The growth potential of electronic transactions is great, given that according to the latest available data from 2015, Greece was a laggard in online payments among European Union member-states, with just 13 card transactions per citizen per annum, just above Bulgaria with 11. Denmark was top with 300 transactions.

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