With the Greek economy as ruinous as their ancient monuments, authorities have imposed sweeping capital controls to forestall a total collapse of the Greek banking system. This not only includes restricting withdrawals to €60 (about £42) per day but also stopped online payment transactions from going ahead using Greek debit or credit cards.
We’re even hearing that some Greeks abroad are finding their bank cards have stopped working. Different Greek banks appear to be interpreting the rules differently but some Greeks are stranded without cash or a means to support themselves which must be a pretty terrible situation to be in, especially as everyone you’re travelling with is likely in the same position.
One of the roll on effects of this are that Greek cards are no longer working to fund PayPal, Amazon or even iTunes purchases. This effectively means that you can no longer sell to Greece unless they have credit cards issued from outside Greece. It also means it’s highly unlikely that Greek bank accounts will work with your website.
We’d like to emphasise that this isn’t a decision taken by PayPal, Amazon, iTunes and other payment providers, they are in all likelihood more than keen to carry on serving their Greek customers. However if their customers are prevented from funding their accounts there’s little the payment providers can do.
Edited to add: PayPal have confirmed the issues telling us “We are carefully monitoring the situation in Greece and the progress of negotiations between the Greek government and its lenders. Due to the recent decisions of the Greek authorities on capital controls, funding of a PayPal wallet from Greek bank accounts, as well as cross-border transactions, funded by any cards or bank accounts are currently not available. Other payment attempts may also be declined by the card issuer or banking institution. We aim to continue serving our valued customers in Greece in full, as we have for over a decade in this country”.
Effectively it means that, for anyone who traded online to Greece in the past, for the moment your sales to Greece are on hold. At least even if you sell something it’s unlikely you’ll receive payment for the foreseeable future.
If you think this is bad for your business, spare a thought for the poor Greeks, not being able to make personal purchases from outside Greece is one thing, but any Greek business which relies on services from outside Greece is totally stuffed. For instance if they can’t pay their bills for Amazon Web Services they’re about to lose their website and computing capabilities.
Greece has pretty much shut up shop until the referendum on Sunday at the earliest and regardless of the result, even from next week, there are no signs that the situation will improve.
Can’t help thinking Greece defaulting is pretty close now.
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