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Digital payments in Greece: Policies and impact on card use, 2015-2020
 
Category: Microeconomic Analysis
SubCategory: Others
Date: 22/03/2021
 
The use of payment cards in Greece grew significantly during 2015-2020 and contributed to higher tax compliance and higher VAT revenues. While the use of other means of digital payments, such as credit transfers and direct debits, steadied after 2017, payment cards penetration kept its momentum, contributing to 17% of the annual VAT revenues increase which was recorded in 2019. Nonetheless, the average level of cards use in Greece remains far below the EU average, while there are several sectors and regions with systematically lower card use. Policy measures through Law 4446/2016 aiming to boost digital payments had a significant, positive effect. For the measures introduced by Law 4646/2019, there is preliminary evidence of a mild positive impact during the first two months of 2020, however the pandemic crisis impedes the drawing of safe conclusions on this. The pandemic crisis affected the use of payment cards, especially through on-line transactions, as it led to an increased frequency, but of lower value transactions. The study concludes that it is crucial to take complementary positive measures of targeted nature, to boost further the penetration of digital payments, which in turn can yield additional fiscal gains.
 
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