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Cashless Swedes sitting on old bills worth billions

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Cashless Swedes sitting on old bills worth billions
08:55 CEST+02:00
Old Swedish bank notes worth 1.4 billion ($162 million) kronor are still circulating, according to the country's central bank, despite them having been declared invalid a month ago.
The old 20, 50 and 1,000 kronor bills ceased to be legal currency in Sweden in June, after being replaced by new designs.
 
Old notes can still be deposited in a bank account up until August 31st. After that they can be exchanged for a fee at the Riksbank, Sweden's central bank, which has received 400 million kronor in the past month. 
 
In an effort to get people to hand in their cash, the Riksbank launched a campaign this spring featuring “Wanted” posters on billboards, in newspapers and in digital channels.
 
Exactly what Swedes are doing with all the missing cash is not clear, but there's a good chance that much of it is hiding in drawers in the famously cash-averse country. Sweden is one of the countries that has come furthest towards becoming a cash-free society, with cash transactions accounting for just two percent of the value all payments, a figure predicted to fall to 0.5 percent within five years..
 
Research commissioned this year by the credit firm company Visa suggests that Swedes are not only using payment cards more often than people in most other nations, they are also using them for smaller amounts of money.
 
According to Visa, the average card purchase in Sweden amounts to 301 kronor ($35), while the European average is 459 kronor ($54). People living in Sweden also use their cards more regularly than those living in all other countries except Finland, the study suggests.
 
Riksbank spokesman Thomas Lundberg told TV4 on Friday that old notes handed in to the Riksbank would be invalidated, shredded and burned to provide heat for Swedish homes. 
 
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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