Greek capital controls are hitting every day life in the country, with many internet services now unavailable due to restrictions on the use of credit cards.
Last weekend, Greece's government imposed capital controls — restrictions on the ability to take money out of the country — due to an economic crisis that continues to deepen after the country failed to make a debt repayment to the International Monetary Fund. The restrictions were an attempt to ensure cash remains within Greece's economy and is not simply moved to a foreign safe haven.
However, the move has also had the effect of stopping many payments made using Greek credit cards to online services based outside the country. As a result, ordinary Greeks who are accustomed to using international services such as Apple's AppStore and PayPal are now finding that they can non longer use popular paid-for internet services due to the financial restrictions.
Greek users of Apple's iTunes have said they are being blocked from buying songs that cost only €0.99, because the sale counts as money leaving the country.
iPhone owners are also getting blocked from downloading apps.
PayPal, a key part of many online purchases, is also no longer available to Greeks due to capital controls.
PayPal insists it is keen to keep doing business in the country, but given the capital controls, the company cannot legally facilitate anything that enables funds to be moved out of Greece.
"We are carefully monitoring the situation in Greece and progress of negotiations between the Greek government and its lenders," a spokesperson said in a statement. "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. We aim to continue serving our valued customers in Greece in full, as we have for over a decade in this country."
Elizabeth Tsirigoti told BuzzFeed News that in addition to her Paypal account, she has lost her subscription access to Foreign Policy magazine and her daughter had lost hers for courses on Education.com.
Capital controls also means online cloud storage services can no longer be paid for using Greek credit cards, leaving people at risk of losing their data.
Greeks have reported that payments to services such as Dropbox and Apple's iCloud service are no longer getting through. Journalists at Bloomberg News's Athens bureau have already reported that they have seen their iCloud package downgraded from 20GB to 5GB because they are unable to make a monthly payment worth just €0.99.
In almost every case, it is not that Greeks don't have the funds to pay for online services.
It's just that no one who created these services foresaw a world where developed countries would have restrictions on the use of credit cards for foreign payments.
Jim Waterson is a politics editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
Contact Jim Waterson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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