The Swiss National Bank announced on Wednesday that old banknotes will only be accepted as a two-day method of payment when shopping. This short period bothered many.
Once all notes from the new series are in your wallet, the old ones are no longer valid: the old ones are the ones with Sophie Täuber-Arp on the 50-franc note and Alberto Giacometti on the cent note.
As of today, you can no longer pay with cash. You can only shop Post and SBB until the end of October.
UBS, Credit Suisse and Zürcher Kantonalbank said upon request that the SNB’s withdrawal caused a major rally, both at the table and over the phone. Commercial banks exchange banknotes only from their customers. There were also long lines in front of the branches of the Swiss National Bank. This is despite the fact that old banknotes can still be exchanged for new ones in the future – for an unlimited period of time.
34 billion is still in circulation
The rush is not surprising: according to statistics from the Swiss National Bank, there are still 149 million banknotes from the eighth series in circulation. This equates to 34 billion francs – 40 per cent of total cash in circulation.
In light of the many crises in recent years – the financial crisis, the euro crisis, and the Corona – the Swiss have begun to save more and more liquidity. More than half of the cash in circulation is stored. Most of these old banknotes were likely in safes, boxes, and under mattresses. How much of this may be from black money is unknown.
In response to criticism that the SNB had given too short a time period to withdraw funds, a SNB spokeswoman said that this was indeed done with the last withdrawal in 2000. There is also a legal requirement.
Also an opportunity to detect black coins
The Swiss National Bank does not answer whether the timely recovery is primarily aimed at generating black money. But it is definitely a thorn in the side of the SNB where a lot of Swiss banknotes are stored. The stored funds are withdrawn from trading and thus also withdrawn from the SNB’s monetary policy. More people are now accumulating cash because they want to avoid negative interest rates.
Anyone wishing to exchange large amounts of old banknotes should expect to have to prove the origin of the money. Because banks and the Swiss National Bank are also bound by due diligence and money laundering rules when exchanging banknotes. Through the exchange campaign, the Swiss National Bank also has the opportunity to track down illicit funds.
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