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Use it or lose it: Swedish banknotes expire this week

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Use it or lose it: Swedish banknotes expire this week
The notes in question. Photo: Micke Larsson/TT
12:11 CEST+02:00
The clock is running down on some of Sweden's old bank notes, which are due to expire by the end of this week.

Only hours remain to use the old 20, 50 and 1,000 kronor notes before they can no longer be used as legal tender in shops. And the country’s central bank (Riksbanken) says that around two billion of the notes in question are still in circulation as the Thursday night deadline draws ever closer.

Just over a month ago the Riksbank launched a campaign where it put up “Wanted” posters on billboards, in newspapers and in digital channels in an effort to warn Swedes about the impending demise of some of their notes. But according to their latest figures there was still almost two billion-kronor worth of old notes in circulation as of June 22nd, with the largest chunk being 850 million 20 kronor notes.

One of the challenges for anyone hoping to get rid of the old notes is that increasingly fewer Swedish banks handle cash these days, meaning it is not always possible to go to the nearest branch and submit the bills.

“My advice is to call the bank’s customer service centre and find out which bank branch you can go to to deposit the money in your account,” Riskbanken press officer Fredrik Wange told news agency TT.

“Whether there are a lot or a little still missing is a matter of opinion. We have received three quarters of the old notes that will become invalid after Thursday. So that is more than 5.5 billion kronor ($646 million) of the 7.5 billion kronor ($881) that was in circulation when the new notes came into use last autumn,” Wange added.

Anyone who fails to spend their old notes before Friday can still deposit them to their bank account until August 31st. After that date, if the total value of the notes exceeds 100 kronor they can still be handed in to the Riksbank, but there will be an administration fee of 100 kronor charged, regardless of how much money is redeemed.

Sweden is due to get more new notes in October, including a 100 kronor note adorned by Greta Garbo, and a 500 kronor note carrying the image of Swedish soprano Birgit Nilsson. The one krona, two kronor and five kronor coins will also change appearance in the autumn, though the old versions will still be usable until June 30th, 2017.

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