Greece has revealed it is to introduce a surcharge for all cashpoint withdrawals and financial transactions in a desperate attempt to prevent citizens withdrawing their money from the country’s beleaguered banks. Ministers hope the controversial move could raise as much as €180 million, which the Athens government hopes will help the country avoid defaulting on debts owed to international creditors. As the Greek economy teeters on the verge of bankruptcy, millions of panicking citizens have completely cleared their accounts – pulling more than €28 billion out of banks and pushing the total cash revenue held in the country’s financial institutions to a 10-year low.
The controversial introduction of mandatory cashpoint charges still requires approval by the European Central Bank but is expected to amount to €1 for every €1,000 transaction. While the measure is unlikely to impact on day-to-day withdrawals, Greece hopes it will deter citizens clearing out their bank accounts. Clarifying that the charge will not apply to money paid in to a bank account, a senior finance ministry official told The Times: ‘The surcharge is just one of a grab-bag of measures we are considering if things get tough.’
The official added that Greece is also considering a ceiling on bank transfers over €1 million in what could fire the starting pistol for capital controls if Greece does go bust over the coming months. FULL REPORT