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Cash card holders not to be frustrated on Greek islands June 23, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Business & Economy, Greece, Tourism.
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Who could today think of leaving home for even a short vacation without a cash card and preferably enough in their bank account?

Well, apart from a cash card and enough of a bank balance, there also must be a system that allows for interbanking, since it is impossible for all banks to operate branches everywhere. Such an interbanking network in Greece is taken care of by DIAS Interbanking Systems SA, a company linking most of the 6,680 automatic teller machines (ATMs) in operation around the country by 35 banks.

This summer, the geographical coverage of ATMs on the Cycladic and Dodecanese islands is almost up to 100 percent. Some of the smaller islands that now have ATMs, are Koufonissia, Donousa, Sikinos, Folegandros, Kimolos and Antiparos, while Schinousa and Anafi are soon to be equipped with ATMs by the Agricultural Bank (ATEbank).

Most of the Cycladic islands, particularly the popular ones, have been feeding strong competition by banks, resulting in a higher number of existing ATMs. On Santorini, for instance, the seven banks with branches on this idyllic island operate over 25 ATMs, while on Myconos, customers are serviced by eight bank branches and a total 20 ATMs.

According to bank officials, transactions through ATMs during the summer period is up over 30 percent, compared to winter, with foreign visitors in some cases accounting for 90 percent of business, especially on Rhodes and Corfu.

The entire region of the Dodecanese Islands is fully serviced by the DIAS system, together with the contribution of the Dodecanese Cooperative Bank. Here, ATMs are available even in some less popular destinations, such as Astypalaia, Leros, Nisyros, Halki, Leipsoi, Tilos, Kasos, Kastelorizo and Symi islands.

Other small island with ATMs include Psara near Chios, Paxoi in the Ionian islands, all of the Argosaronic islands, even the islet of Agistri, and the northern Sporades and eastern Aegean islands.

In Greece, DIAS operates some 6,680 ATMs, of which 4,000 are located within bank buildings, while the remaining, almost 40 percent, operate in locations away from bank branches to facilitate customers’ cash needs anywhere possible: airports, railway stations, ports, marinas, gas stations, shopping malls and entertainment parks, sports facilities, hospitals and even aboard passenger boats.

In terms of network size, the National Bank leads the market with a total 1,371 ATMs, or a share of 20.5 percent, followed by Eurobank (825), ATEbank (807), Alpha Bank (761), Emporiki Bank (706), Piraeus Bank (601), Millennium Bank (238), Geniki Bank (207), Citibank (167) and Cyprus Bank (164).

Other credit institutions contracted with DIAS include the Greek Postal Savings Bank, Marfin Popular Bank (Marfin, Laiki, Egnatia banks), Probank, Aspis Bank, Cretan Cooperative Bank, Attica Bank, Proton Bank, Hania Cooperative Bank, Hellenic Bank, HSBC, Panhellenic Bank, Dodecanese Cooperative Bank, FBB, the cooperative banks of Achaia, Lamia, Corinth, Evia, Trikala, Kozani, Ioannina and Drama, American Bank of Albania, Cooperative Bank of Serres, Cooperative Bank of Karditsa and American Express.

DIAS allows cash card holders to withdraw up to 600 euros daily, in addition to a number of other banking jobs. Transactions with the bank in which customers keep their account have no transaction fees,but in the case of using the ATM of a different bank, a fee of 1.5 euros to 4.0 euros is charged by DIAS, depending on the amount withdrawn and each bank’s fee policy. In 2006, as many as 17.6 million euros interbanking transactions were executed through the DIAS system, mostly withdrawals, totaling some 2.18 billion euros.

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