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The Swedish krona has not been this weak against the dollar in 17 years

The Swedish krona keeps falling and is now at its worst levels against the dollar since 2002.

The Swedish krona has not been this weak against the dollar in 17 years
The Swedish krona is also at a decade-low against the euro. Photo: Jessica Gow/TT

The krona came in at 10.79 against the euro and 9.65 against the US dollar in Thursday trading.

Since the turn of the year the Swedish currency has dropped six percent against the euro, which has not been this expensive compared to the krona since the summer of 2009.

Meanwhile, the krona has dropped nine percent against the US dollar, its worst level since 2002.

Financial Times reports that the krona is the world's worst-performing major currency so far this year.

“I can't see what's going to stop this,” Michael Grahn, chief economist at Danske Bank, told Swedish news agency TT.

“Unfortunately I think it is going to get even worse.”

In theory, a weak krona should push up import prices and inflation, but this is not yet happening in Sweden, where the Central Bank is expected to keep the key repo interest rate at -0.25 percent for the time being. 

There are both winners and losers.

If you are a tourist in Sweden, it is wonderful news. Your euros and dollars will buy you many more cinnamon buns and dark Nordic coffee that they would have five years ago.

But if you are working in Sweden, you've effectively taken a substantial cut in your annual euro or dollar earnings in the same time period, and will not have as much money when you go back home to visit.

ANALYSIS: What you need to know about the state of the Swedish economy

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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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