The ongoing Greek debt crisis has an unusual victim. While the referendum poll on whether Greece should accept the bailout terms or not takes place tomorrow, citizens have woken up to the harsh reality when restrictions imposed on the use of their credit and debit cards have made them unusable for minor payments as low as a Euro to purchase songs or make online payments.
Buzzfeed reports that many Greeks are suddenly not able to access services like Apple App Store, iTunes or even Paypal. Greece recently put restrictions in place to stop money from going out of the country. In other words, users couldn’t pay for services that aren’t based in the country.
Users have taken to the social media to complain about how they can’t buy anything — be it music or apps — from Apple’s stores. Some users are reporting that they can’t even update the apps that are on their iOS devices.
— Themis (@themis_anthrako) July 1, 2015
@AppStore Dear AppStore, please accept greek credit cards, we can’t download applicesio in our iphones 🙁 Sincerely iPhone Holders Greece
— Themis Giannoulis (@ThemisGia) July 2, 2015
— Sotiris B (@innov8rX) July 1, 2015
It isn’t just Apple’s services either, but PayPal, which is central to most online transactions, too is not accessible to the Greeks. Unlike Apple though, PayPal has acknowledged the issue and says that it intends to continue its business in the country. In a statement to the publication, the company said,
We are carefully monitoring the situation in Greece and progress of negotiations between the Greek government and its lenders. Due to the recent decisions of the Greek authorities on capital controls, funding of PayPal wallet from Greek bank accounts, as well as cross-border transactions funded by any cards or bank accounts are currently not available.
In essence, any international service that requires the use of a credit card isn’t working anymore in Greece. The country is set to go to polls tomorrow to vote on whether to accept the bailout program, which would restart financial aid in exchange for further austerity and economic reform. In short, whatever the result, the suffering doesn’t look to be ending anytime soon.