Travel Related

…and THIS is why you don’t keep old Foreign Currency “Just in Case”. Sweden changing their bills 30JUNE2016!

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Old Swedish currency no longer valid 30june16 RenesPoints blog warning
Worthless in a few short days!

When you travel it is often either very convenient, or even possibly necessary, to have some local currency. From tiny purchases to remote little shops that don’t have a credit card machine, you just need real money vs plastic. Last summer, for example, my wife and I took a week holiday in England and had a blast visiting a flee market and found lots of bargains – cash only.

rene and lisa renespoints blog in london england
Hello Ben!

But there are countries where cash is almost pointless. Sweden, for example, could become a cashless society one day and maybe sooner than we think. People there, just like here nowadays, pay for even super tiny purchases with a card and they all use chip-N-pin for the transactions. Simple, quick and easy.

swedish bank notes changing
The change over timeline

But notice what is happening at the end of this month. Sweden is changing their bills and old bills will no longer be valid for spending (you can, for a fee and some real effort, still exchange bills past the expiration date).

And while this year it is paper money, next year it is coins as well (well most of them anyway).

The point is if you are thinking about returning to some country down the road you may decide it is not worth the exchange fee of a few dollars to change your remaining local currency back over to US dollars. But here is an example where doing this could cost you.

Beyond that it is always smarter if you can to pay with a travel card to earn points. Sure you should try to use a travel card that does not charge an international transaction fee but I have shown in the past, depending on currency fluctuations and the cost of the transaction, this fee can be all but be a myth in reality. But also keep in mind many airport exchanges locations, if you go back to the same company who you started with, will allow you to change back what you have left over at no extra fee (other than your first fee). – René


my new delta amex biz card
I just got this card – did you? 🙂



  1. Thank goodness we only have 20 SEK. Framing it tomorrow… 🙂

  2. Sometimes, we will use any residual currency to settle any hotel charges at checkout…. Or if we do decide to keep the foreign currency… Then we can always exchange it for USD (much like a foreign traveler would when coming to the US)… Some of the local exchange places in NYC have decent exchange rates.

  3. Thanks for this post, I only lose 1, 20kr note, but would have kept it anyway knowing it was changing.

  4. rene

    @Ash – What a great tip and idea. Will use this.
    @Scott – Yeah, kinda fun to have for so little loss.

  5. Typically when I travel abroad I don’t even bother picking up local currency, for all of my 6 trips to South Korea for work I have yet to lay my hands on any! At the same time, a country like Taiwan is almost all cash-only except for major stores and chains, so the handful of TWD that I had with me from a prior trip came in VERY handy when the restaurant I ate at didn’t take cards….

  6. Jennifer Malcome

    Thanks for the heads-up! I’m going to have to dig out my Swedish kronor and see if I have enough to bother with.

  7. I’ve found that almost all cabbies abroad–including Europe –either do not accept cc at all or are very angry if you use it. As a consequence, especially after a bad experience in Hong Kong, I always get at least 100 dollars loc as l currency.

  8. We keep a supply of CAD, EUR, GBP, CNY, about $100 apiece, since we travel there quite often. Otherwise, I agree: either change it or plan on having a lovely collectible. We go to HKG often, but I’ve dropped keeping any currency in fear China will convert it to CNY eventually without notice.

  9. I always keep some as a souvenir and make sure I have a bit for the airport in case of exit tax, water etc., but I have gotten caught with more than I intended to have but less than what is worth exchanging.

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