We have been in Athens for 3 days and every where we go the deny the use of a credit card, it appears to be a cash only society now. Can still obtain money from ATM. Will be leaving Athens and travel through the mainland and will update the situation there.
it appears to be a cash only society now
No surprises here. I believe it has always been a largely cash society in the mom and pop places (as opposed to larger international hotels, etc). Easier to not pay taxes that way. Report back if they actually give you receipts as they should...that will be interesting. If you see receipts, taxes are likely reported for those purchases.
The head of the Confederation of Greek Tourism only last month was appealing for tourists to pay for as much as they can by card, as cash transactions are largely done to evade paying VAT - by up to 40% of businesses.
Per Marco's comment...
I don't remember much using or trying to use a credit card in Greece on previous trips. Probably just for car rental, a ferry ticket from a travel agency, or a larger hotel (but I have usually avoided larger hotels). Take plenty of cash from ATMs with the plan that you'll need it.
Good to know, thanks,
To be fair, merchants also have to pay a fee for credit card use. For small purchases, this can take a real bite out of a merchant. Consequently, many merchants in Europe refuse to take cards for small purchases or at all. As noted, if there is a receipt, than they will have to report it for taxes. No receipt and it is probably under the table.
Not taking credit cards is also more common in southern Europe than northern.