Millions of cards were issued in 2015, but are not being used

27 July 2016
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Despite the sharp rise in the use of credit and debit cards in the second half of 2015, following the introduction of capital controls in the summer, the average value of transactions per card-holder remained virtually the same.

According to a report by the Bank of Greece on that period, the average number of transactions per card dropped by 33% on a six-month basis (16 transactions per card). At the same time though, the average value of transactions for cards grew by 0.6% to 1,976 euros, with the average value for debit cards increased by 1.29% to 2,234 euros.

This is attributed to the drop in consumer trust and consumption – following the political and economic uncertainty – as well as poorer household primarily using cash for daily transactions until that point. A

In particular, in the second half of 2015 the average value per transaction for all the cards fell to 120 euros (-29.6%) from 171 euros in the first half. For debit cards specifically, the reduction was greater from 191 euros to 128 euros (-33.2%) in the previous semester.

Official data shows that there was an 11.26% increase (1.3 million cards) in the number of cards issued during the second half of 2015, bringing the total number of cards issued to 14.2 million. Debit cards saw the greatest boost (+12.9%).

By the end of the year, 81% of cards in use were debit cards, while 19% were credit cards. In relation to that change in the number of cards, the total number of card transactions increased by 59%, while the total value by 12%. The use of debit cards increased by 71%, while the total value of transactions by 14%.

On an annual basis in 2015, a total of 381.2 million card transactions were carried out, up by 33% compared to 2014. The total value of transactions amounted to 53.2 billion euros, marking a 12% increase compared to the previous year.

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