Card transactions have soared 30% this year, largely thanks to the growth in online commerce as a result of the pandemic, according to figures compiled by Mastercard.
This rise, observed in the period from January to October, highlights how quickly consumers embraced e-commerce, with a 39% jump in online card transactions being recorded in April – the first full month of the spring lockdown.
In the same period, the use of cards at physical points of sale increased by 14%, supported by the fact that banks have raised the limit for contactless payments to 50 euros per transaction.
Mastercard country manager for Greece, Cyprus and Malta Aspa Palimeri told an online press conference that “the pandemic has been a catalyst for a series of changes in consumer behavior regarding their transactions and purchases, taking the penetration of contactless payments to a remarkable 92% rate of all transactions made by card.”
The increase in the turnover of transactions carried out at physical and online stores using Mastercard cards issued by Greek banks – which have increased by almost 17% compared to 2019 – is attributed to the the fact that more local tradesmen now accept plastic money. In contrast, the volume of transactions made using Greek cards abroad declined by 12.5% in the rest of Europe and 35.3% in third countries.
Palimeri pointed out that “the resilience of the domestic card transaction turnover is mainly down to the difference in its composition in comparison to that of other European countries, as it mainly originates from debit cards used in routine transactions and not just for high-value payments.”
The slump in tourism has resulted in a dramatic drop in the transaction volume in Greece through cards issued abroad, amounting to -49% for cards owned by Europeans and -77% for the cards of third-country citizens.
For next year, Mastercard’s main priority will be the field of online transactions and training consumers how to use them, as “the scope of their penetration in the Greek market is great,” according to Palimeri. At the same time “the great expansion in e-commerce sets the immediate and efficient compliance with the European Directive for Strong Customer Authentication as a priority,” she added.