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Changing coins tricky in Sweden's near cashless economy

Published torsdag 24 augusti 2017 kl 15.31
Bank clerk: It will take four to five weeks to enter your account
(3:24 min)
Our reporter holding a vintage Sparbanken piggy bank.
Our reporter holding a vintage Sparbanken piggy bank. Credit: Richard Orange / Sveriges Radio

There's only a week to go before it becomes impossible to cash in the old one and five kronor coins which stopped being legal tender in June. But when Radio Sweden tried to monetise an old piggy bank, we found it surprisingly tough.

According to Sweden's central bank, 155 million five kronor coins have yet to be cashed in, with only a week to go before the August 31 deadline, after which no bank will accept them. 

Together with all the old one hundred and five hundred kronor notes, a massive 1.6 billion in soon to be worthless currency is still in circulation, and the bank expects less than percent of it to ever be handed in. 

"We estimated that somewhere between 30 and 50 percent would come in and now we're at around 41 percent, so that's within the boundaries were were calculating with," Tommy Persson, who is leading the exchange project at Sweden's central bank, told the TT newswire earlier this month. 

But Eric Nordberg, who was at Swedbank at the time Radio Sweden came with our piggy bank, said handing in his coins – collected in a metal model of a London phonebox – had been frustratingly difficult. 

He complained that only one branch in central Stockholm accepted cash (only three do so in the entire city) and the cash division there is only open between 10am and 3pm, when most people are working. 

"It's terrible. There's one place in the entire city, which opens at ten O'Clock. It's a mess. I hate it," he said. 

Radio Sweden was turned away from Swedbank on our first attempt because we arrived at the branch just after 3pm.

When we did finally manage to cash in the money, we were told it would take four to five weeks to arrive in our account.

Our journalism is based on credibility and impartiality. Swedish Radio is independent and not affiliated to any political, religious, financial, public or private interests.
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