Old Swedish cash worth billions still in circulation

Old Swedish cash worth billions still in circulation
Old Swedish money. Photo: Micke Larsson/TT
Millions of old Swedish bank notes are still in circulation despite a deadline to hand them in by the end of August, warns the central bank.

Sweden's old 20, 50 and 1,000 kronor bills ceased to be legal currency in June, after being replaced by new designs. People have still been able to deposit them in bank accounts, but after August 31st they can only be exchanged for a fee at the Riksbank, the central bank.

However, the Riksbank has revealed that some 41 million of the old bank notes – at a value of 1.3 billion kronor ($155 million) – are still in circulation despite the fast-approaching deadline.

“If you still have notes at home it's high time to go to the bank and deposit them into an account,” said Christina Wejshammar, head of the department for cash supply, in a statement.

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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.

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.

If you still have old bank notes you want to redeem, information is available on the Riksbank's website.

The notes can be sent to the 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.