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Time to empty the piggy bank as Sweden’s old coins soon become useless

As Sweden nears the end of its banknote and coin changeover, it's time to empty the piggy bank.

Time to empty the piggy bank as Sweden's old coins soon become useless
Two of Sweden's old coins (top two) and the three new ones. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT
The days of Sweden's old 1-, 2- and 5-kronor coins are numbered.
 
The banknote and coin changeover, which began in 2015, has entered its final phase, meaning the last remaining old coins, as well as the old 100-kronor and 500-kronor bank notes, will become invalid after June 30th, 2017.
 
 
Banks across Sweden are now gearing up for large amounts of old coins being deposited ahead of the deadline. Some banks apply a fee on coin deposits, while others receive coins free of charge as long as the money is deposited in a bank account.
 
“If you have a very large amount of coins it's good if you contact your branch in advance. We had one customer who brought in 40,000 kronor in 1-krona coins,” SEB press spokesperson Frank Hojem told TT newswire.
 
The Riksbank, Sweden's central bank, estimates that approximately 1.3 billion coins, valued at nearly 2 billion kronor, are still in circulation. And as it is up to traders to decide whether or not to only give customers new coins back for change before June 30th, shoppers risk ending up with old coins back in their wallets again.
 
The Swedish Trade Federation (Svensk Handel) is critical, which says the state as well as the banks have put too great a responsibility on traders for ensuring the old coins are collected.
 
“There are no incentives for traders to return old coins to the Riksbank via (cash-handling company) Loomis, on the contrary it comes at a cost. If we were to purchase new coins that would also add a cost,” Bengt Nilervall, payments expert at Svensk Handel, told TT.
 
Sweden's banknote and coin changeover began in 2015, with the old 20-, 50- and 1000-kronor notes having become invalid after June 30th last year.
 
The final bank deposit date for the 1-, 2- and 5-kronor coins is August 31st, 2017.
 
Sweden's old 100-kronor and 500-kronor notes will also become invalid after June 30th, but can be deposited at a bank until June 30th, 2018.
 
The Riksbank has a detailed schedule (in English) for the banknote and coin changeover, and a map where you can find your nearest coin-deposit location is available at Myntkartan.se
 
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EUROPEAN UNION

Pensions in the EU: What you need to know if you’re moving country

Have you ever wondered what to do with your private pension plan when moving to another European country?

Pensions in the EU: What you need to know if you're moving country

This question will probably have caused some headaches. Fortunately a new private pension product meant to make things easier should soon become available under a new EU regulation that came into effect this week. 

The new pan-European personal pension product (PEPP) will allow savers to take their private pension with them if they move within the European Union.

EU rules so far allowed the aggregation of state pensions and the possibility to carry across borders occupational pensions, which are paid by employers. But the market of private pensions remained fragmented.

The new product is expected to benefit especially young people, who tend to move more frequently across borders, and the self-employed, who might not be covered by other pension schemes. 

According to a survey conducted in 16 countries by Insurance Europe, the organisation representing insurers in Brussels, 38 percent of Europeans do not save for retirement, with a proportion as high as 60 percent in Finland, 57 percent in Spain, 56 percent in France and 55 percent in Italy. 

The groups least likely to have a pension plan are women (42% versus 34% of men), unemployed people (67%), self-employed and part-time workers in the private sector (38%), divorced and singles (44% and 43% respectively), and 18-35 year olds (40%).

“As a complement to public pensions, PEPP caters for the needs of today’s younger generation and allows people to better plan and make provisions for the future,” EU Commissioner for Financial Services Mairead McGuinness said on March 22nd, when new EU rules came into effect. 

The scheme will also allow savers to sign up to a personal pension plan offered by a provider based in another EU country.

Who can sign up?

Under the EU regulation, anyone can sign up to a pan-European personal pension, regardless of their nationality or employment status. 

The scheme is open to people who are employed part-time or full-time, self-employed, in any form of “modern employment”, unemployed or in education. 

The condition is that they are resident in a country of the European Union, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein (the European Economic Area). The PEPP will not be available outside these countries, for instance in Switzerland. 

How does it work?

PEPP providers can offer a maximum of six investment options, including a basic one that is low-risk and safeguards the amount invested. The basic PEPP is the default option. Its fees are capped at 1 percent of the accumulated capital per year.

People who move to another EU country can continue to contribute to the same PEPP. Whenever a consumer changes the country of residence, the provider will open a new sub-account for that country. If the provider cannot offer such option, savers have the right to switch provider free of charge.  

As pension products are taxed differently in each state, the applicable taxation will be that of the country of residence and possible tax incentives will only apply to the relevant sub-account. 

Savers who move residence outside the EU cannot continue saving on their PEPP, but they can resume contributions if they return. They would also need to ask advice about the consequences of the move on the way their savings are taxed. 

Pensions can then be paid out in a different location from where the product was purchased. 

Where to start?

Pan-European personal pension products can be offered by authorised banks, insurance companies, pension funds and wealth management firms. 

They are regulated products that can be sold to consumers only after being approved by supervisory authorities. 

As the legislation came into effect this week, only now eligible providers can submit the application for the authorisation of their products. National authorities have then three months to make a decision. So it will still take some time before PEPPs become available on the market. 

When this will happen, the products and their features will be listed in the public register of the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA). 

For more information:

https://www.eiopa.europa.eu/browse/regulation-and-policy/pan-european-personal-pension-product-pepp/consumer-oriented-faqs-pan_en 

https://www.eiopa.europa.eu/browse/regulation-and-policy/pan-european-personal-pension-product-pepp_en 

This article is published in cooperation with Europe Street News, a news outlet about citizens’ rights in the EU and the UK. 

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