The Greek government wants to boost the use of plastic money as a means to combat tax evasion. But the banks do not share the government enthusiasm and keep their charging rates high.
A vendor, a restaurant owner or a lawyer has to pay 3% or even higher commission to the bank if the payments he received were per credit card and 0.50EUR if payments per debit card.
At the same time, more and more Greeks grab their plastic card to make their payments for purchases and services as the capital controls keep restricting cash withdrawal to 420 euro per week.
What happens when entrepreneurs are charged with the credit card fee? Slowly but gradually they have started to roll it over to consumers and clients.
Last week, a friend told me that she was charged with an extra 3% the moment she took the credit card from her wallet to pay a Christmas gift for her niece.
Deputy Finance Minister Tryfon Alexiadis claimed recently that the Greek banks charge more billing fees “than the rest of Europe.”
Much to my knowledge also US-banks charge – and probably also European banks charge a 2.9% for payments per credit card and it seems that this is the global practice. Will the o.1% make the difference for the Greek credit card users?
Deputy FinMin Tryfon Alexiadis:
“We must do away with these charges. They must be as reasonable as in the rest of Europe.”
Deputy finMin Alexiadis also complained about the bank charges of 0.35 euro for every payment of the Public Power Company (DEH) and the 0.50 EUR charging for bill payments through e-banking that “have no cost for the banks,” as he said.
SYRIZA-politician Alexiadis also criticized the banks for charging 280 euros for the installation of the POS devices that facilitate payments per credit and debit cards.
What is interesting is that not all banks charge all businesses with the same fees which vary “between 1.5% and even more than 3%.”
Tradesmen complain about bank charges
- 25.5% of the businesses said they were charged with bank commission 1% – 2.5% on every billing billing.
- 64.7% of the businesses said they were charged with bank commission 0.5% – 1% on every billing billing.
- 9.8% of the businesses said they were charged with bank commission of mover than 3% on every billing.
Survey respondents said that things were “very slightly better when client uses debit card” but also there the extra charge can start with 1.5% and reach more than 3%.
Majority of the survey respondents complained that the bank commission percentage has been charged on the total billing amount which includes also x% Value Added Tax that has to be returned to the state via the tax office.
Example: “For a credit card payment of X amount with 23% V.A.T., the bank charge is 3.07%.”
The EEA considers the Greek banking charges as “unacceptable” especially after the implementation of the obligatory European Union Commission Regulation (EU) 2015/751 of the European Parliament and of the Council of Europe of 29 April 2015 on interchange fees for transactions payments per cards:
3% for credit cards
0.2% for debit cards
The EU Regulation was to be implemented Europa wide since 9th December 2015.
Taxpayers pay the price – Again
“These charges do not help the government effort to combat the tax evasion and the boosting of electronic payments,” Deputy FinMin Alexiadis stressed beginning of the month. Nothing has changed so far.
These charges will certainly drive Greek taxpayers crazy because if they want to secure a certain amount of their annual income as “tax-break” they will have to spend most of their income per e-payments.
PS of course, we have to pay more. We are in Greece.