The number of Greeks who pay for even small purchases with debit or credit cards is continuing to increase at a high rate.
The data from the Bank of Greece is revealing. There are now more than 16.3 million cards in circulation, which means that each citizen has at least two cards in their wallet.
Last year, on average 100,000 new cards were issued monthly – 90,000 of which were debit cards and 10,000 credit cards.
At the end of 2017, there were 13.5mn debit cards in circulation, and 1.1 million new cards were issued last year.
There was an increase in the number of credit cards by 200,000 in 2017.
The greatest increase was in the number of pre-paid cards, which rose by 30 percent.
Banking sources say that the above data show that Greeks have become completely acclimated to plastic money, as they spent 60bn euros in 2017, over five billion euros more than in 2016.
A Bank of Greece report underlines that both households and legal entities are adjusting to new transaction practices, which concern mainly gaining the greatest possible benefits in connection with their tax obligations (accruing receipts, etc.).
A large number of prepaid cards are used for online payments, which have increased substantially.
In 2017, there were a total of 720 million card payments, compared to 513mn in 2016 (a 40 percent hike).
The share for debit cards was 87 percent.
There was a 46 percent increase in the use of debit cards in 2017, as compared to 2016.
The average value of plastic money transactions has been going down steadily, indicating a broader use.
The average transaction value was 82 euros in 2017, compared to 108 euros in 2016, and 139 euros in 2015.