Payments statistics provide information on the access to and use of payment services in the EU countries, as well as on the payment and settlement systems operating in it.
They comprise indicators on the number of participants in the domestic infrastructures of the payments market and, most importantly, on the volume and value of payments processed via them. A comparison of indicators between EU countries highlights the similarities but also the significant differences in transaction practices across countries.
These differences between countries reflect differences either in payment cultures or in the time of introduction of innovative payment solutions or in the established way of operation of certain infrastructures.
Regulatory framework on data collection
The European System of Central Banks has adopted a single framework under which the participating national central banks (NCBs) collect statistical data from payment service providers (PSPs) and payment system operators.
More specifically, since 2014 data are collected in accordance with the provisions of Regulation (EU) No 1409/2013 of the ECB on payments statistics and Guideline ECB/2014/15 on monetary and financial statistics (recast). Payment service providers receive a questionnaire they have to complete with data relevant to them. The questionnaires are completed according to the methodology and instructions provided by the Bank of Greece to ensure the proper implementation of the above mentioned regulatory framework.
Likewise, statistical data on payment systems are collected from payment system operators. Based on the aggregated data, each NCB compiles the national indicators.
In its turn, the ECB gathers data from NCBs and compiles EU and euro area-wide indicators. The ECB enters the time series of all indicators it receives from NCBs in the Statistical Data Warehouse, through which data on payment systems are made available to the public.
Since 2014, due to the implementation of the new regulatory framework, data are not only collected from credit institutions, but also from payment and e-money institutions.
Moreover, any events causing a time series break are mentioned in the notes accompanying the data tables. The ECB publishes the tables of payments statistics around mid-September every year. It also prepares and publishes an annual report on payments statistics, which includes, inter alia, quantitative and qualitative data on the indicators of the last five years for each country.
Among the various statistics provided, data on the volume and value of payments by payment service are of particular interest. In contrast to the developments in the EU as a whole, in Greece there is no clear linear increase or decrease in the use of principal payment services, during the above period, possibly because the general economic conditions affected the relevant indicators. However, there is a visible trend towards a wider use of payment services that are accessed electronically (payment cards and e-money), as well as a decline in the use of cheques.