Free­lancers get­ting used to cards

In­creas­ing num­ber of pro­fes­sion­als who will be forced to ac­cept plas­tic money are ap­ply­ing for ter­mi­nals

Kathimerini English - - Focus - BY EVGENIA TZORTZI

The first in­di­ca­tions of mass com­pli­ance by free­lance work­ers with the obli­ga­tion to ac­cept pay­ments by card are al­ready ev­i­dent in data from the first month of the year, as, ac­cord­ing to banks, one in four re­quests for the in­stal­la­tion of card ter­mi­nals is com­ing from pro­fes­sion­als such as doc­tors, lawyers, ac­coun­tants etc.

This trend is ex­pected to peak in the com­ing months as, within the next few days, the Fi­nance Min­istry is ex­pected to is­sue its de­ci­sion on which pro­fes­sions will be in the first batch of sec­tors that will have to ac­cept card pay­ments by June 2017.

Sources say that those sec­tors will be ca­ter­ing (restau­rants, cafes, bars etc), re­pairs, ed­u­ca­tion, ap­parel, rentals, hair­dressers, gyms, law-re­lated ac­tiv­i­ties, med­i­cal ser­vices, telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions, en­ergy and games of chance. By the end of June, all of them will likely be obliged to of­fer fa­cil­i­ties for card pay­ments by their cus­tomers, who must make enough on­line pay­ments per year to se­cure an in­come tax dis­count and avoid pay­ing fines.

Banks and com­pa­nies that in­stall card ter­mi­nals have al­ready recorded a dou­bling of de­mand in Jan­uary: Be­tween 8,000 and 9,000 ap­pli­ca­tions were sub­mit­ted last month while the av­er­age rate in pre­vi­ous months was month.

There are about 320,000 card ter­mi­nals in­stalled in Greece, up from 220,000 in 2015, with the prospect of reach­ing 400,000 within this year.

Ac­cord­ing to sources, the in­crease in card trans­ac­tions is es­ti­mated at 50 per­cent from Jan­uary 2016, while turnover has risen 30 per­cent, showing that more and more cit­i­zens are opt­ing to use plas­tic over cash.

A sig­nif­i­cant por­tion of the de- around 4,000 per 1.0692 mand for new ter­mi­nals, es­ti­mated at be­tween 23 and 25 per­cent, came from free­lance work­ers in Jan­uary, while in 2015 and 2016 this rate was at 12-13 per­cent and be­fore 2015 it was at just 5-7 per­cent.

The same data show that turnover through card ter­mi­nals has soared 136 per­cent over the last cou­ple of years and banks ex­pect trans­ac­tions in plas­tic money will ex­ceed 20 bil­lion eu­ros in 2017, up from 15 bil­lion in 2016.

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