June 30th was the last day on which Sweden’s old 20, 50 and 1,000 kronor notes could be used after the country’s central bank (Riksbanken) decided to phase them out. One reason for the withdrawal is the need to add modern protection against counterfeiting.
But The Local has been told that exchange services in foreign countries may still be handing out the old notes to their customers.
“I have had friends visiting this month from Ukraine, Mexico and Croatia. All had exchanged their notes in their home country, but when they got here those notes weren’t valid anymore,” J Graigory, an American living in Stockholm explained.
“The Riksbank has done the world’s worst job of getting this money back from places so tourists don’t end up here with money they can’t use. It’s ridiculous,” he added.
When contacted by The Local, the Riksbank said they were not previously aware of the problem, but had taken measures to make sure other countries were aware that notes were going to expire.
“We informed foreign banks, central banks, and foreign media about the Swedish exchange of notes and coins, starting last year and also this year,” Riksbank press officer Fredrik Wange said.
“We e-mailed and posted information to foreign banks all over the world. We haven’t directly informed every individual branch or exchange office in the world of course, but we informed their headquarters.”
American Graigory insisted however that more should have been done to make sure that expired money was not being given out abroad.
“They needed to have a longer time period to take it out of circulation. They needed to pull it internationally for a lot longer. Cash is cash, it isn’t milk and doesn’t expire,” he argued.
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The Riksbank expressed their regret at any inconvenience that may have been caused, and recommended that tourists should keep receipts from exchange services in their home countries, in case they need to seek a refund from the point of exchange for any expired notes they may have been given.
“We regret the inconvenience caused to people given invalid notes abroad, of course. I realize it’s hard for tourists to be updated on our exchange of notes. The recommendation is to contact your exchange service and bank where you received the notes, talk to them, and try to find a solution,” Wange suggested.
“It’s always important they can show where the money is from, so save the receipt.”
The Riksbank also highlighted that information is available on their website on how old notes can be redeemed.
The notes can be sent to the central bank along with a form, and the money will then be exchanged and deposited into the sender's bank account. A Swedish bank account is not required, but a flat 100 kronor administration fee is charged.