The use of plastic money has very favorable growth prospects in Greece, while helping in the battle against tax evasion, as the use of credit/debit cards significantly lags behind the Eurozone and EU average rates.
An Athens-Macedonian News Agency report, based on bank figures, showed the number of credit and debit cards in Greece totaled 12,610,623, of which 9,845,258 debit and 2,765,365 credit. The figures do not include pre-paid cards and cards issued by cooperative banks.
According to European Central Bank (ECB) figures for 2013, Greece ranked at the bottom of EU member-states’ list in electronic payments, with just 18 such payments per person, sharply down compared with an average rate of 197 payments in the EU. Portugal has 172 payments, Cyprus 106, Italy 73, Spain 129, Finland 451, Sweden 375 and Denmark 339. The value of non-cash payments in Greece was 199 million euros in 2013, 78 million of which were card transactions. Non-cash payments in Greece (per person) are 11.5 times less compared to the average Eurozone rate (202).
Expanding the use of electronic payments will have positive results in the Greek economy by reducing “black economy” and combating tax evasion, Nikos Kampanopoulos, Visa Europe managing director for Greece, Cyprus and Bulgaria said. “Cash is the driving force of black economy.”
A Visa survey showed that black economy in Europe was 18.5% of GDP (around 2.0 trillion euros). In Greece it was 24% (around 40 billion euros). Around 10% of black economy in Europe (200 billion euros) could be wiped out through electronic payments,” Kampanopoulos said.
“Offering incentives to consumers and enterprises to choose electronic payments and plastic money instead of cash would lead to higher revenues for the state,” he said while presenting a package of measures recommended by Visa to boost card payments, such as: tax deductions, lower VAT for use of credit/debit cards, expanding the use of electronic payments, abolishing the use of cash throughout the public sector and municipal authorities and launching a promotion campaign.