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MONEY

How to get your hands on Sweden’s new coins

The second batch of Sweden's new currency is going into circulation today as part of a huge project designed to replace hundreds of millions of banknotes and coins across the country.

How to get your hands on Sweden's new coins
Riksbank head Stefan Ingves depositing some of his old cash. Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

The Nordic nation is introducing new editions of the 100-krona and 500-krona banknotes on Monday, as well as new versions of the one-krona and five-kronor coins. A new two-krona coin is also being released, some four decades after it was scrapped in the 1970s. The current ten-krona coin will stay the same.

Swedish movie star Greta Garbo and opera legend Birgit Nilsson are depicted on the new 100-krona and 500-krona bills. The current banknotes as well as all older coins – with the exception of the ten-kronor coin – will become invalid after June 30th next year.

“It will be a huge challenge to collect all of the 2.5 billion kronor in coins that will become invalid next summer,” said the head of the Riksbank, Stefan Ingves, in a press statement.

The new money will be phased into circulation in the coming months, but those particularly keen on getting their hands on it were able to queue up at the Central Bank – the Riksbank – in central Stockholm between 2pm and 7pm on Monday afternoon.

Those wanting to get rid of their old coins can either use them to make purchases in stores before June 30th, or deposit them at for example banks or exchange offices across Sweden listed on this map, set up by the Riksbank. 


The new 100-krona banknote. Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

Sweden's old 20, 50 and 1000-krona banknotes went out of circulation earlier this year as they were replaced by new bills. Anyone who missed that deadline can still exchange the old notes for a 100-krona fee by sending the notes to the central bank.

In August the Riksbank reported that around 82 percent of the old notes had been deposited, but tender to the tune of 1.3 billion kronor was still out there, expiring in piggy banks and pockets.

Exactly what Swedes are doing with 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.

Researchers from Oxford University discovered in 2013 that Sweden's cash was among the filthiest in Europe, with bank notes containing more bacteria than all others across the continent. 

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What happens if you don’t pay a bill in Sweden?

Sweden's Enforcement Authority is responsible for collecting unpaid debts, fines, and declarations of bankruptcy. So, what happens if an unpaid bill reaches the Enforcement Authority, and can you do anything if you have a black mark on your record?

What happens if you don't pay a bill in Sweden?

What happens when you have a bill?

Usually, if you have a bill in Sweden, you will receive an invoice (faktura) either digitally or via post, which will include details such as the amount owed, who to pay and the date payment is due (förfallodatum).

If you don’t pay the invoice in time, the person you owe money to may turn the case over to inkasso, or a debt collection agency, who will again send you an invoice for payment, plus the agency’s fee.

If this invoice goes unpaid, the Enforcement Authority will get involved.

The Swedish Enforcement Authority, Kronofogden in Swedish, is responsible for collecting unpaid debts. It does this by providing advice and support to those who are unable to pay their debts, as well as helping creditors – such as, for example, landlords whose tenants have not paid their rent.

The debt collection agency will pass unpaid bills on to them, and you may receive a betalningsanmärkning or black mark on your credit record.

Before you receive a black mark, however, you will first receive an ansökan om betalningsföreläggande from the Enforcement Authority. If you pay this in time, your debt will not be registered as a betalningsanmärkning.

There are some types of payment where you can receive a betalningsanmärkning without the bill going through a debt collection agency first. These are usually payments owed to the state, such as unpaid tax, unpaid student loan repayments or unpaid municipal parking fees.

You are unlikely to come into contact with the Enforcement Authority unless you miss or forget to pay a bill.

What happens if you get a black mark?

A black mark can have pretty major consequences – it can stop you from hiring a car, getting a credit card, borrowing money (including getting a mortgage), taking out a phone contract or even renting an apartment, as well as barring you from ordering anything on credit or paying via invoice.

This is due to the fact that whenever you apply for a loan or credit in Sweden, the lender will check your credit score (kreditupplysning) to see if there is any risk of you not paying up. Many lenders have a strict policy on not lending to individuals with black marks on their credit score to minimise risk, no matter whether the mark is due to an unpaid phone bill or a missed mortgage repayment.

How can I check if I have one?

You can check if you have a black mark by contacting a credit check company – here is a list of all credit check companies in Sweden. Some may charge a small fee for the service, whereas others offer it for free.

One advantage of checking your own credit score before contacting a lender is that your credit score is not affected when you carry out a check on yourself. 

If, however, a bank carries out a credit check on you, this can affect your credit score – it’s usually not an issue if you carry out one or two checks, but a lot of checks in a short period of time could cause issues.

Can you do anything to remove it?

Unfortunately, no. 

All you can do is wait – a black mark will disappear from your record after three years for private individuals or five years for businesses. 

The best strategy is to avoid getting a black mark on your record in the first place – such as by paying your bills via autogiro (direct debit), keeping an eye on your post (as well as your digital post), and paying for items up-front if possible to avoid invoices, rather than using “buy now, pay later” credit services such as Klarna or Clearpay.

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