online bill pay

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Noelle
Posts: 5
Joined: Sat May 14, 2016 11:20 am

online bill pay

Postby Noelle » Sun May 27, 2018 6:34 pm

Hello, all. My mother (who is Greek), my grown siblings, and I have a house outside Iraklion. It's registered in my mother's name. My brother lives in the UK and the rest of us in the States. Currently a local relative handles getting our property taxes and utility bills paid, but I'd like to take that over so she doesn't have to do the work. I have heard that the Greek bank can arrange to have the bills paid automatically, something called entoli. Is that right? Any tips on this?

Ultimately I'd like to do this from my own account. Can a non-resident get a local bank account? Or should I just stick with using my mom's account?

I will be in Crete next month and hope to get things set up.

--Noelle M.

Kilkis
Posts: 10957
Joined: Sat Apr 21, 2007 3:58 pm
Location: Near Chania

Re: online bill pay

Postby Kilkis » Sun May 27, 2018 11:23 pm

It is possible to set up a direct debit mandate so that an organisation can bill the bank account directly. It will certainly work for electricity and phone bills. It might work with the water bill but there are a number of water companies in Crete and not all of them operate electronic payments so it will depend on the particular company. If the bill has a box headed ΚΟΔ. ΠΛΗΡΩΜΗΣ or something similar with a large number, e.g. possibly 15 digits, in it then you can pay electronically. I don't think it is possible to set up a direct debit to pay property taxes.

Personally I use online banking and pay bills electronically myself rather than use a direct debit. Each bill has a payment code so I log onto my bank account, select payments and the recipient and then enter the account number to pay from, the payment code from the bill, the amount and the date. That works for electricity, phone and property tax. Again it also works for some water companies but not all. You could arrange for online banking access to your mother's bank account and do that from anywhere in the world.

If you open an account in your own name then you will need a Greek tax number, ΑΦΜ, and you should then fill in an income tax return every year. Depending how fluent you are in Greek and how well you understand the Greek tax system you may need to pay an accountant to do this for you. Until recently there were restrictions on opening an account, e.g. having to pay in €10,000, but I think they have been lifted if it is a first account. You would need to check. They still apply, I believe, if it is not a first account. Personally I would say getting online access to your mother's account might be a simpler option. You only need a user name and password. You could probably get this by going to the bank with your mother when you are next in Crete. She would need to apply for them and would need ID with her. You may be able to do it without visiting a bank by downloading a smart phone app. You would probably need the bank card details.

Warwick

Noelle
Posts: 5
Joined: Sat May 14, 2016 11:20 am

Re: online bill pay

Postby Noelle » Mon May 28, 2018 6:44 pm

Thank you, Warwick. I will indeed open my own bank account when I'm back in Crete next month. My mother checked with the bank and they told her that I can't have the entoli sent from someone else's account. I'll have to present a lot of documents, including my U.S. tax return, so I may not need a Greek tax i.d. after all. We will see. --Noelle

Kilkis
Posts: 10957
Joined: Sat Apr 21, 2007 3:58 pm
Location: Near Chania

Re: online bill pay

Postby Kilkis » Mon May 28, 2018 10:19 pm

Noelle wrote:...My mother checked with the bank and they told her that I can't have the entoli sent from someone else's account...


I am not sure what the bank means by that statement? As far as I know anybody can make a payment for a bill as long as they have the payment code. Our local bank branch has just closed. A friend normally pays bills in that branch. It would be inconvenient for him to go to a different branch so I have told him I will pay it online from my account with a different bank and he can give me the cash. I haven't tried it yet but I expect to do so soon so I will report back. I don't see why you couldn't set up Direct Debit payments on your mother's account while you are in Greece and then you could simply transfer amounts to that account from your US bank if you wanted to pay them yourself. If she obtained an ID and password for her bank account and gave them to you you would be able to log onto the account and check that everything was working.

Noelle wrote:...I'll have to present a lot of documents, including my U.S. tax return, so I may not need a Greek tax i.d. after all. We will see. --Noelle


I wouldn't bank on that, no pun intended. As far as I know you can't open a Greek bank account without a Greek ΑΦΜ. The bank needs it to report bank activity to the tax office and they need the Greek tax ID in order to do that. Greek banks, like most other banks, have KYC rules, Know Your Customer, and so they would need your US Tax return to satisfy those rules, not instead of a Greek tax ID. All my UK friends who have remained tax resident in the UK have to provide a UK tax return but they still need a Greek tax ID. They may also need to satisfy FATCA rules, Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, which could also involve your US tax return. I could be wrong. As you say, "Θα δούμε".

Warwick

Roussa
Posts: 115
Joined: Thu Oct 27, 2011 5:03 pm
Location: Eastern Crete

Re: online bill pay

Postby Roussa » Tue May 29, 2018 2:52 pm

Noelle wrote:...My mother checked with the bank and they told her that I can't have the entoli sent from someone else's account...


Then house is in her name so payments with entoli have to be done from her account/in her name.
Only when using online banking you can pay from any account you want.

At least that's what I've been told by the bank :wink:


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