The Hellenic Bank Association has provided the answers to frequently asked questions and the publication of the ministerial decision of the Minister of Finance (B’4315 / 28.9.2018), “Settlement of restrictions on cash withdrawals and transfer of funds” for the new ‘relaxation’ of capital controls, is valid from today:

1. As of 1 October 2018, any cash withdrawals from a store or ATM of banks in Greece, including withdrawals by credit and prepaid cards issued by credit institutions operating in Greece, are permitted without limitation.

2. It is permissible without restriction, to withdraw cash in foreign currency from banks.

3. As of 1 October 2018, cash withdrawals abroad, with debit, credit and prepaid cards issued by banks operating in Greece, up to the amount of EUR 5,000 or the equivalent in foreign currency, per calendar month, per Customer ID, per bank are now permitted.

4. Bank and private cheques may be deposited in bank account credit. From 1 October 2018 cash cheques are allowed.

5. Credit, debit and prepaid cards can be used normally for purchases of goods and services within Greece, up to the limit stipulated in your contract with the bank and if the company from which the purchase of the goods or services is clearing the transactions from card accounts held with a bank operating in Greece.On the other hand, if businesses operating in Greece have installed a POS terminal from a foreign bank, and the clearing of card transactions is made to an account held with an overseas bank, credit, debit and prepaid cards issued by banks and electronic money institutions operating in Greece may not be used unless specifically authorised for this purpose by the Banking Authority.

6.If you are abroad you can use your cards for purchases of goods and services:

(a) up to the limit set in your contract with the bank,

(b) and within the limit of an amount approved for each bank or e-money institution separately, by the Bank Transaction Banking Committee.

For purchases from the Internet, you can use your cards, up to the limit stipulated in your contract with the bank, without limitation if online stores clear their account transactions with a bank operating in Greece. Where online stores clear their card transactions in an account that they hold with an overseas bank, you can use your cards: 

(a) up to the limit set in your contract with the bank,

(b) and within the limit of an amount approved for each bank separately from the Bank Transaction Banking Committee.

However, where online stores clear their account transactions with an overseas bank then the following eight (8) general categories of online transactions are not allowed:

(a) Money transfers abroad.

(b) Purchase of works of art and auctions.

(c) Transactions with betting companies and gambling.

(d) Purchases in jewellers.

(e) General codes identifying a majority of transactions relating to pornographic material.

(g) Personal services (escorts and appointments).

(h) Payments to charitable organisations.

(i) Markets for food services.

7. You may open an account and add a co-beneficiary to an existing account with a credit institution, regardless of the creation of a new Customer ID.

8. Early, partial or total repayment of a loan to a credit institution is permitted.

9. Early, partial or full expiration of term deposits is permitted.

10. Companies are allowed to open a new account for clearing card transactions if a contract with a bank, payment institution and/or an electronic money institution operating in Greece is established. On the other hand, payment transactions may not be concluded if they are cleared through your account, which is held with a bank, payment institution and/or e-money institution outside of Greece.

11. Clearing transactions with payment cards, both Greek and foreign, will be credited to your business account, as provided in the relevant contract.

12. Any business that denies payment by credit, debit and prepaid cards will be penalised with severe fines and / or imprisonment, in accordance with the provisions: Articles 288 (1) and 452 of the Penal Code, Article 13a of Law 2251/1994 (A 191),  Article 18 of Law 146/1914 (A 21), and Article 19 of Law 4177/2013 (A 173) as applicable.

13. Credit cards, debit and/or prepaid cards issued by foreign banks, when they are issued abroad, are used both for purchases of goods and services and for cash withdrawals without limitations within the limits of your contract with the issuing bank.

14. The transfer of funds from accounts held with a foreign bank to an account held with a bank operating in Greece is permitted.

15. It is permissible to transfer banknotes in euro or in foreign currency up to  ten thousand euro (10,000) or the equivalent in foreign currency per person and per trip abroad. The 10,000-euro limitation excludes permanent residents. Limits and authorised persons of the shipping companies for the needs of the ship (cash-to-master) up to the amount of fifty thousand (50,000) euro per day are also exempt by submitting supporting documents to the competent customs authority. These supporting documents have been set by decision of the Banking Commission for Approval.

16. The transfers of funds abroad are not allowed unless they fall within the exceptions processed on a daily basis (a) the Special Sub-Committees of the Banks, in accordance with the provisions of Decision 26 / 15.11.2017 (Government Gazette B 4050) and (b) the Bank Transaction Banking Committee, in accordance with the Act on Legislative Content.

Also permitted, without the approval of the Bank’s Special Sub-Committees or the Bank Transaction Adoption Committee:

(a) the acceptance and execution of orders to transfer funds to banks abroad up to the amount of Euro four thousand (4,000) per Customer ID and per calendar month from 1 July 2018 onwards, up to a monthly limit in euro for the total of the banks operating in Greece and accepting deposits, which is defined and allocated by bank to the Banking  Transaction Banking Committee, 

(b) transactions of legal entities or traders abroad in the course of their business activities, which do not exceed one hundred thousand (100.000) euro each, per day, per customer, upon presentation of the relevant invoices and other documents and supporting documents, which will be accompanied by a mandatory declaration by which the above persons declare that the documents presented above are genuine and have not been submitted to another bank.

These transactions will be processed directly from the branch network of banks, credited to the counterparty’s account, and will be calculated within the weekly limit set by the Bank Transaction Banking Commission for each bank.

Transactions of natural persons imposed on serious health grounds or for exceptional social reasons, concerning the execution of payments abroad, or cash withdrawals, upon presentation of the necessary supporting documents to the bank proving that the relevant conditions are met and with a monthly limit of two thousand (€ 2,000) per person (with one or more transactions) to all banks operating in Greece.

The aforementioned requests will be accompanied by a statutory declaration, in which the aforementioned natural persons declare that the above documents are genuine and have not been submitted to another bank.

The above permitted transactions will be processed directly from the branch network of the banks.

17. For the procedure for submitting and approving requests for the transfer of funds abroad by legal entities and traders in the course of their business activities as of November 27, 2017, applies Decision 26 / 15.11.2017 (Government Gazette B 4050) Of the Banking Committee Approving Transactions.

18. The payment of hospitals and medical expenses is subject to the approval of the Banking Committee Approving Transactions under the following conditions:

(a) providing the necessary supporting documents to the bank through which the transaction is conducted, and

(b) transfer of the relevant medical expenses cover by credit to a bank account of the hospital and not to an account of the beneficiary itself.

Also permitted is the withdraw from a bank account the transfer abroad of cash of a lump sum of two thousand (2,000) euro, or its equivalent in foreign currency for a companion of a person going abroad for hospitalisation, subject to the written documentation of the purpose of the move abroad.

19. Payment of tuition fees is subject to the approval of the Banking Committee Approving Transactions under the following conditions: 

(a) providing the necessary supporting documents to the bank through which the transaction is conducted, and

(b) transfer of the relevant amount by credit to a bank account of the educational institution and not to an account of the beneficiary itself.

Also permitted is the transfer of a maximum of five thousand (5,000) euro or its equivalent in foreign currency, per calendar quarter, in total, for subsistence and subsistence expenses for students studying abroad or participating in student exchange programs. Payment must be made to an account held abroad, with the beneficiary being the student.

However, where the above amounts are credited directly to students’ accounts or student lessor, upon presentation of a lease or other relevant documentation, a maximum of eight thousand (8,000) euros or equivalent in foreign currency per calendar quarter.

20. Amounts credited to your bank account from abroad can be re-transferred abroad as a whole. Also permitted is their withdrawal in cash. The relevant documentation of the transaction of foreign capital inflows and their outflow abroad is the responsibility of the bank and must be complete. 

It is also permitted to transfer funds outside Greece from an institution to purchase financial instruments as per the definition of Article 5 of Law 3606/2007, as applicable, abroad, provided that:

(a) the bank account of the beneficiary from whom the transfer is made, or

(b) the customer’s account held by the investment service provider in an institution from which the transfer takes place on behalf of the beneficiary, has been credited after the start of the bank holiday on 28 June 2015, with funds from foreign remittances, including credit transfer, redemption or repayment of foreign financial instruments or the collection of financial distributions related to those financial instruments. In the above cases where the transfer of funds outside Greece is permitted, the relevant funds may be transferred and the shares of UCITS of Law 4099/2012.

21. In the event of a seizure of a cash claim to a bank, the Bank of Greece or the Fund of Deposits and Loans as a third party, the amount shall either be paid by cheque or must be credited to a depositor’s bank account kept at the same bank or in another bank.

22. Payment under Letters of Guarantee is permitted.

23. New financing may be permitted provided one complies with the relevant legislation and Bank’s business policy.

24. The repayment of open loads and limits is permitted according to the terms and conditions of the relevant contract with one’s bank.

25. Payments abroad for employees are not allowed where the relevant account for the payroll is kept in a bank operating in Greece and the accounts credited are held in foreign banks. Restrictions exclude employees in diplomatic missions, permanent representations or other Greek government public services. Also, employees in diplomatic missions, permanent representations or other Greek government services abroad, who keep payroll accounts with a bank based and operating in Greece, are allowed to transfer their salary equivalent to their foreign account, proving in writing their capacity.

26. Payments of pensions and welfare benefits of any kind abroad, by social security institutions governed by Greek law, are authorised by an account credited to a bank established and operating outside Greece in the following cases: 

(a) if the person entitled to the pension or the welfare allowance received the pension or welfare allowance in the manner described above before the commencement of the bank holiday declared on 28 June 2015 (A 65); or if it had been proven the entitled person had submitted the relevant application for the issuance of these benefits and payments, and also

(b) if he\she is first awarded a pension after 22/07/2016 and if the beneficiary can prove he\she resides abroad for at least the last two years.

27. Unlimited cash withdrawals and remittances abroad may be made up to EUR 5,000 per month per beneficiary per bank account, by members of diplomatic missions and paid consular posts and by officials of the international and European organizations referred to in paragraph 16 of its first article of 18 July 2015, who are assimilated to the members of diplomatic missions, upon demonstration of the special identity issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

28. A dormant account may be activated if the suspension of the deadline of Articles 7 and 8 of Law 4151/2013 (A 103) ceased to apply as of 14 November 2017.

29. Permitted is the transfer profits and dividends from investments in Greece if the funds for the investment in Greece have been transferred from abroad through a remittance to an investor/beneficiary account held with a bank operating in Greece.

The relevant documentation of the foreign capital inflow transaction and the outflow of profits and dividends to the rest of the world is the responsibility of the credit institution and must be complete.

 

*DISCLAIMER: This translation of the capital control restrictions is only a guide and interested parties are encouraged to seek advice from legal and banking professionals. GCT does not take responsibility for any misreading or misinterpretations from the original publication.  


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