Swedes urged to deposit 41m invalid banknotes

A small pile of old 50-krona notes Image copyright AFP/Getty Images
Image caption It's time for Swedes to check their pockets for now-invalid currency like this 50-krona note

Swedes are being urged to deposit millions of old banknotes which are still in circulation despite a looming deadline to redeem them.

Sweden's central bank, the Riksbank, says that 41 million old notes - in denominations of 20, 50 and 1,000 krona - are sitting in people's wallets and piggy banks, even though they've not being legal tender since June. In total they're worth 1.3bn Swedish krona ($155m; £117m), the bank says. The new designs that replaced them were introduced last year.

The deadline for people to deposit the old notes into their accounts is 31 August - after that they can only be redeemed via the Riksbank, where people will be charged a fee and may face extra checks under money-laundering legislation.

Swedes will see more new notes and coins introduced in October, and the central bank wants people to start using up the old versions now, to avoid a repeat of the current situation. It says 1.6 billion coins will become invalid in June 2017.

Despite all the new currency, The Local points out that Sweden is a largely cash-free society, with only 2% of all payments made in cash. But a Riksbank spokesman said in March that, notwithstanding the popularity of electronic payments, the bank expects cash to "stick around until the 2030s".

Image copyright AFP/Getty Images
Image caption Sweden's new notes are being phased in gradually - Hollywood icon Greta Garbo features on the 100 krona note

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