The amounts of cash issued by Eesti Pank are larger than they were in the last quarter
In the third quarter of 2021 Eesti Pank issued 9.1 million banknotes into circulation with a total value of 298 million euros. The number of banknotes issued by Eesti Pank was 19.9% more than in the previous quarter, and the value was 18.7% more. Banknotes worth 160 million euros were returned to the central bank. Bank notes that were unfit for circulation were removed and destroyed during the sorting process, and the rest were packaged and sent back into circulation.
Cash was withdrawn from ATMs on 7.1 million occasions in the third quarter of 2021, for a total value of more than 1.07 billion euros. The number of withdrawals was up 8% on the same period a year earlier and the value was up 15%. Cash to the value of 536 million euros was deposited in ATMs in the third quarter. This was 10% more than in the previous quarter and 8% more than a year earlier. The increased demand for cash was affected by payouts from pension funds in the third quarter.
Coins with a value of 3 million euros were issued into circulation in the third quarter, and coins worth 1.4 million euros were returned to Eesti Pank. More than 40% of the coins issued were one and two-cent coins that people receive as change from shops, but rarely spend themselves. Eesti Pank issues around 13 million one and two-cent coins into circulation each year, of which some 2% make it back to the bank. This demonstrates that one and two-cent coins are essentially not part of currency circulation, and so Eesti Pank considers it would be reasonable to introduce rounding rules at shop tills. Rounding rules would mean that the final value of a basket of purchases being bought in cash in a shop would be rounded to the nearest five cents, and so the use of one and two-cent coins would drop substantially. Prices are not rounded when payment is made by card, meaning the shopper can decide whether or not rounding happens. Various surveys have shown that there are many more people in favour of rounding rules than opposed to them. A recent survey on payment behaviour found that 54% of respondents supported rounding and 29% were opposed, while a Euro barometer survey in spring 2021 found support from 71% while 22% were opposed.
There are 697 ATMs in Estonia, of which 210 accept cash depositing. The number of ATMs has fallen a little year by year, but even so 47% of those responding to the payment behaviour survey found that access to cash has not changed for them in the past three years. Indeed 13% of respondents found that access to cash had improved, while 21% considered that it has deteriorated. There are also 29 bank offices where cash transactions can be made. Cash can be withdrawn from shop tills at 660 locations across Estonia, and 98.4% of the Estonian population lives within a ten-kilometre radius of a point where cash can be withdrawn.
Exchanging Estonian kroons for cash
Eesti Pank continues to exchange Estonian kroons in notes and coins for euros. There were 224 exchange transactions with kroons in the third quarter at a value of around 63,000 euros. There are still 28.5 million banknotes and 320 million coins that have not been returned from circulation, with a total value of 44.3 million euros, a part of which has been permanently lost or destroyed over time.
Eesti Pank expert analysis of cash
Eesti Pank exchanges damaged euro banknotes and coins. Expert analysis was carried out 47 times in the third quarter of 2021 as 139 banknotes were examined for authenticity and were classed as damaged notes. Banknotes are exchanged when more than half of them remains. Damaged banknotes are removed from circulation and are destroyed. The Estonian Forensic Science Institute registered 72 counterfeit euro banknotes in Estonia in the third quarter, the majority of which were 20 and 50-euro notes. There were also 19 counterfeit coins discovered in the quarter. The number of counterfeits discovered in Estonia is marginal both in absolute terms and in relation to the number of genuine notes and coins issued into circulation,
- Estonian kroon banknotes and coins can be exchanged for euros at the shop of the Eesti Pank Museum during its opening hours from Tuesdays to Fridays 12.00-17.00 and Saturdays 11.00-16.00.
- Damaged banknotes can be submitted for expert analysis by contacting the museum shop.
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