Recall banknotes series 8 – short expiry period for old banknotes causes trouble – news


On Wednesday, the Swiss National Bank (SNB) announced that the old banknotes would only be accepted as a means of payment for two days when shopping. This short period has annoyed many.

As soon as all the notes from the new series are in your wallet, the old ones are no longer valid: The old ones are those with Sophie Täuber-Arp on the 50-franc note and Alberto Giacometti on the hundred-dollar note. As of today, you can no longer pay with them in cash. You can only shop at Post and SBB until the end of October.

UBS, Credit Suisse and Zürcher Kantonalbank said on request that the SNB’s recall had caused too much rush, both at the counter and by phone. Commercial banks only exchange notes from their own customers. There were also long queues in front of the branches of the SNB. This is despite the fact that the old notes can still be exchanged for new notes in the future – for an unlimited period of time.

34 billion still in circulation

The rush is not a surprise: According to SNB statistics, 149 million notes from the eighth series are still in circulation. That corresponds to 34 billion francs – and 40 percent of the current total cash in circulation.


The old banknotes are no longer considered a means of payment in shops, but they can still be exchanged at the bank.


In view of the many crises in recent years – financial crisis, euro crisis, Corona – the Swiss have started to hoard more and more cash. More than half of the cash in circulation is hoarded. Most of these old notes are likely to be in safes, boxes and under mattresses. How much of this may be black money is unknown.

In response to the criticism that the SNB had given the recall too short a time, an SNB spokeswoman said that this was already the case with the last recall in 2000. There is also a legal requirement.

Also a chance to uncover black money

The SNB does not answer whether the timely recall is primarily intended to generate black money. But it is certainly a thorn in the side of the SNB that so many Swiss banknotes are being hoarded. Hoarded money is withdrawn from circulation and thus also withdrawn from the SNB’s monetary policy. More people are now hoarding cash because they want to avoid negative interest rates.

Anyone who wants to exchange larger amounts of old banknotes must expect to have to prove the origin of the money. Because banks and the SNB are also bound by due diligence and money laundering rules when exchanging notes. With the exchange campaign, the SNB also has the opportunity to track down illicit money.

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