On October 27, 2023, the European Central Bank (ECB) received a letter from the Greek Finance Ministry asking its opinion on certain draft amendments to the current tax legislation, which exclude the possibility of purchasing real estate with payment in cash and generally limit the use of cash.
According to the internal regulations of the ECB, the Board of Directors issued an opinion signed by the head of the ECB, Christine Lagarde, and which is revealed exclusively by “Naftemporiki”.
The ECB ‘s opinion about the use of cash
Cash still plays an important role in society. Cash is generally valued as a means of payment because it is widely accepted, it is a quick way of payment and makes it easier to control spending.
In addition, cash could play an important role in the event of a payment system disruption and is resilient against cybercrime, as cash payments do not require operational technical infrastructure or related investments.
Moreover, the ability to pay with cash remains particularly important for certain social groups who, for various legitimate reasons, prefer to use cash instead of other means of payment or do not have access to the banking system and electronic means of payment. These groups include not only the elderly, but also some citizens with disabilities, immigrants, socially vulnerable citizens, minors and others with limited or no access to digital payment services. In this context, the ECB closely monitors any development of national legislation that aims to limit the possibilities of cash payments and therefore interferes with citizens’ right to pay with cash.