Card payments up by 50 percent in a year


Card transactions rose by 50 percent in January, the first full month since the introduction of a law that only allows taxpayers who pay for purchases with plastic to qualify for an income tax discount.

The use of credit, debit and prepaid cards in everyday transactions is expected to continue growing at a steady rate within 2017, adding to the 136 percent increase in card transaction turnover recorded over the last two years, according to data from Mastercard. There has also been a considerable increase in the number of card terminals around Greece, now estimated at 320,000, which is seen climbing to 400,000 within the year.

More than four-fifths (81 percent) of active cards are debit cards, numbering 11.8 million. Of those, 1.3 million were issued in the last 12 months.

According to Mastercard’s regional director, Aspa Palimeri, an additional feature of the new environment in terms of payment methods in Greece is that Greeks are increasingly opting to make contact-free payments. Such Mastercard transactions soared 1,345 percent in 2016 from 2015, as over 220,000 compatible terminals are operative in the market, which suggests the likelihood of a further increase in contactless payments.