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 there.
Specifically, they comprise data 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 jurisdictions.
These differences reflect variations not only in payment cultures and in the time of introduction of innovative payment solutions, but also in the established way of operation of payment infrastructures.
Regulatory framework on data collection
The European System of Central Banks (ESCB) 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 have been collected in accordance with the provisions of Regulation (EU) No 1409/2013 on payments statistics and Guideline ECB/2014/15 on monetary and financial statistics (recast). Accordingly, domestic PSPs receive a questionnaire which must be completed with the relevant data. This task is performed 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 its national indicators.
On an aggregate level, the ECB gathers such data from its member NCBs and compiles EU and euro area-wide indicators. The ECB enters the time series of all indicators it receives in the Statistical Data Warehouse, which serves as the conduit that makes data on payment systems available to the public.
Since 2014, data have not only been 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-July each year. It also compiles and publishes an annual report on payments statistics, which includes, inter alia, quantitative and qualitative data indicators for the last five years for each country.
It should be noted that the last annual data collection according to the aforementioned regulatory framework will include the reference data for 2021, which will be submitted by 29 April 2022.
Revised regulatory framework
From reference date 1 January 2022 onwards, payment statistics data will be collected in accordance with revised Regulation ECB/2020/59 of the European Central Bank (ECB). The changes introduced by the amended Regulation refer both to the collection frequency and to the actual definition of the data. The basic changes are outlined as follows:
• Quarterly or semiannual reporting frequency, depending on the type of submitted data.
• Reporting of statistical information on fraud, separately by means of payment.
• Collection of data from account information service providers (AISPs) and payment initiation service providers (PISPs).
• More detailed data on payment channels, payment schemes, cross border card-based payment transactions and country breakdowns are to be reported.
• Reporting of more detailed card-based payment transactions, by means of the merchant category code.
Within the scope of its tasks, the Bank of Greece informs PSPs on their obligation to report data according to the revised Regulation and provides the data collection methodology, as well as necessary material and the technical standards of the submission file (XML). Relevant documentation is available only in Greek.
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, Greece has not experienced a clear linear increase or decrease in the use of principal payment services during the reference period, possibly because the general economic conditions have affected the relevant indicators. However, there is a visible trend towards a wider use of electronic payment instruments (mainly payment cards and e-money schemes), as well as a decline in the use of (paper) cheques.