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CURRENCY

Here’s what Sweden’s banknotes looked like 100 years ago

Sweden may be on its way to becoming a cashless society, but historical examples of its currency offer an interesting insight into the country's history.

Here's what Sweden's banknotes looked like 100 years ago
Some of the old banknotes. Photo: Royal Coin Cabinet

The ten-kronor note hasn't existed in Sweden for more than 20 years, but at one point there were dozens of different designs for the note, with the country's different banks each designing their own.

Sweden's Royal Coin Cabinet museum has shared images of late 19th-century ten-kronor notes as part of an initiative to raise awareness of its collection.

At the time, there were 31 private banks across the country, each of which had the power to issue its own banknotes, so in 1901, for example, there were 28 examples of the ten-kronor note. Banks would display images of all the valid notes, as seen in the picture above, so staff could carry out their jobs and spot forgeries.

“This was a special period in Sweden's economic history, where we had a standard currency but different banknotes,” Åsa Hallemar from the museum told The Local.

“You can see that the motifs on the banknotes were there to promote the regions, for example people and buildings which were important to the city in some way.”

READ ALSO: Cashless Swedes still sitting on old kronor worth billions

The below image of a ten-kronor note produced by Örebro Enskilda Bank in 1896 shows the city's iconic castle and a statue of nobleman Engelbrekt Engelbrektsson, who led a rebellion against Eric of Pomerania, which was in Örebro's main square.

Photo: Royal Coin Cabinet

The 1884 ten-kronor note from Kristinehamns Enskilda Bank depicts Queen Kristina, who founded the city Kristinehamn and gave it its name.

Photo: Royal Coin Cabinet

And an 1894 note issued by Kopparbergs Enskilda Bank in Falun has an image of the copper mine for which the area was well known, and King Gustav Vasa who also had a connection to the region.

Photo: Royal Coin Cabinet

The Riksbank, Sweden's central bank and the third oldest bank in operation, was established in 1668, but it didn't gain the exclusive right to issue banknotes until well over 200 years later. 

This went some way in solving the problem of forgeries, which were frequent and often hard to spot with so many different versions of the bank notes in circulation simultaneously.

READ ALSO: Sweden could soon have its own digital currency

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MONEY

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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