Piraeus Bank: Use of plastic money broke new records in Christmas/New Year period

Piraeus Bank on Tuesday said that the use of plastic money during the Christmas and New Year holidays period rose to new record highs, evidence of a massive turn by consumers towards plastic money that began two-and-a-half-years earlier, after the imposition of capital controls in the country.

Piraeus Bank – which holds the biggest market share in credit, debit and pre-paid cards in Greece at around 30 pct – said that the number of transactions using cards over the weekend on December 23-24 was 83 pct higher than the same period in 2016, while turnover was 46 pct higher. In the December 30-31 period, card transactions were up 70 pct and turnover was up 28 pct compared with the same period in 2016. The bank said that plastic money purchases made ahead of the Christmas holiday were 18 pct up compared with transactions made before New Year’s holiday, while in the period from December 20 until the end of the month, the average daily number of transactions made using plastic money was up 92 pct compared with 2016.

Average daily card transactions were up 74 pct in the December 24-31 period while average daily value was down 24 pct, with transactions for small sums (less than 10 euros) soaring 176 pct in this period.

The supermarket sector, followed by gas stations, clothing/footwear and home appliances sectors, recorded the biggest increase in both transactions and turnover.

Piraeus Bank’s officials said that the number of transactions made using plastic money exceeded 33 per second, a record for the Greek banking market.

Yiannis Grammatikos, deputy managing director in Piraeus Bank, told ANA that consumers – more than ever – showed a preference for the use of cards instead of cash and attributed this trend to the easiness and safety accompanying cards and bonus programmes offered by banks.