Find out which money service providers and banks transfer money overseas to Greece
Given the previous unstable financial situation in Greece, the options to transfer money in and out of the country were previously limited. However, the credit crisis in Greece has largely stabilized and the majority of banks and global transfer providers have now reinstated their services in the country.
We contacted several banks and transfer providers to confirm that no restrictions are currently in place for money transfers into Greece at this point in time.
You can see a full list of these lenders and providers below.
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Why did the Greek government shut the banks?
In June 2015, Greece was at the forefront of a severe credit crisis. As the government attempted to prevent the country from financial demise, all banks were shut across the nation. Stock markets were closed, transfer restrictions implemented, and ATM withdrawals were capped to 60 Euro per person, per day.
This meant that many individuals had to rethink their money transfer options.
Which providers temporarily suspended their services?
Although the majority of banks and international money transfer providers did not place any restrictions or special conditions on their services into Greece during the debt crisis, the following providers temporarily suspended their services into Greece in July 2015:
- World First
What is the current situation?
Following the July 5th referendum of 2015, Greek citizens voted against Greece’s bailout and the Greek government developed new negotiations with its creditors to repay the debt. Greece was able to avoid the worse-case scenario where the country may have been forced to exit the European Union (EU).
In mid July through to early August of 2015, bank branches in Greece reopened as the restrictions that constrained the country for the previous weeks lifted.
The IMF confirmed that Greece has cleared its arrears with the fund.
While a monthly repayment schedule has been developed for the country, the long-term credit crisis remains as Greece still has an exorbitant amount of outstanding debt to service.
In early July of 2015, it was reported that Greece owed official lenders 242.8 billion Euros with Germany representing its largest creditor. The lenders include the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the European Central Bank (ECB) as well as the Euro zone governments. In addition, more than 8 billion Euros in short-term bills are due over the next few months.
The banking sector is still subject to capital controls and austerity measures have meant that Greek citizens are paying higher VAT rates on basic goods.
Business as usual for transfers from Canada to Greece
Two major transfer providers, Western Union and MoneyGram, suspended their services into Greece for a few months back in 2015. However, the majority of banks, financial institutions and global transfer specialists now have no current restrictions on transfers from Canada to Greece, including Western Union and MoneyGram, who have reinstated their services.
The following lenders and global transfer providers have confirmed that they have no restrictions on transfers into Greece, as normal fees and rates apply:
These providers claim that it’s “business as usual” for transferring money to Greece, but they do warn that you should exercise caution if you need to transfer money out of the country. Major Canadian banks also transfer money to Greece including RBC, BMO, TD, Scotiabank, CIBC and others.
With a government debt ratio forecast to reach 150% in 2020 and 140% in 2022, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) warns that Greece will be vulnerable to economic shocks in the years to come.
The people of Greece voted “Oxi” or “No” on July 5th 2017, turning down a bailout package offered by the European Union that would have extended their current loan terms and offered solutions that would also help to pay off these loans.
The European Union subsequently provided a €7 billion bridge loan to Greece on July 21st whilst the Greek government voted on whether to accept a new bailout package. This loan was used to pay down some of the outstanding payments on debts Greece already has and also coincided with the reopening of Greek banks, although with tight restrictions.
While no restrictions are currently in place for transfers from Canada to Greece, the dire financial situation in Greece still remains.