The coin collecting campaign will no longer be free and a service fee will apply from Thursday
The coin collecting campaign run jointly by Eesti Pank and Omniva will have reached its first major waymark on Wednesday as it is very probable that more than a million coins will have been returned by Wednesday evening. Euro coins can still be exchanged at the Omniva Post offices at Järve in Tallinn and Kvartali keskus in Tartu, but there will be a service fee from Thursday of 5% of the amount exchanged.
The coin collecting campaign had received 935,934 coins by Tuesday evening, of which 80% were one, two and five-cent coins.
“We are very pleased to see that the million coin collection campaign has caught people’s attention and they have been very active in exchanging coins. Almost a million euro coins have been exchanged in the free part of the campaign in only a week and a half, which was much faster than was expected. The large numbers of coins returned have also meant that queues have been long, as the speed that the coin counting machines operate at puts a limit on how fast the service can be provided”, said Estonia manager at Omniva Kristi Unt.
“Every additional coin that is brought back is one new coin fewer that needs to be produced. We would like to thank everyone who has responded to the challenge and helped us to reduce the environmental impact of coin circulation. Small copper coins have a very large environmental impact relative to their value”, noted head of the Eesti Pank cash handling division Martti Näksi.
He added that this is a pilot project for the central bank. “People brought very large amounts of coins during the free part of the campaign, and it certainly motivated them that there was no service fee for the first million coins. It is not possible to offer this service for free over the long term though, as there are costs in handling the coins and there must inevitably be some small fee for this service. This makes the next phase of the current pilot project important for us, as people can exchange their coins for a 5% service fee. When the pilot project ends at the end of the year, we will be able to analyse what the best approach would be to ensure that coin circulation operates in the best way possible”.
He added that a lasting solution for the efficient operation of coin circulation would probably be to introduce rounding for the amounts paid for shopping, rounding the price of the total basket, not of individual items in it, to the nearest five cents when customers pay in cash. Rounding would not be applied to card payments. Surveys have shown that the majority of people in Estonia would support such a solution, but it would require a change to the law and discussions with the ministries are currently ongoing.
Background on the coin collecting campaign
Euro coins can be exchanged for free at the Omniva post offices at Tallinn Järve and Tartu Kvartali throughout Wednesday, meaning until the evening of 27 September. Coins can still be exchanged at those post offices until the end of the year, but from Thursday 28 September there will be a service fee of 5% of the amount exchanged. If at least 50% of the amount exchanged is then spent on products or services from the Omniva post office, the service fee will be waived. Coins collected in the campaign can be exchanged for euro notes and coins of higher value, euro coins of all denominations can be brought, and up to 3 kg or 200 euros of coins at a time can be exchanged.
The joint coin collecting campaign run by Eesti Pank and Omniva is a pilot project that aims to test whether such a coin collecting service would help to return small copper coins into circulation. The pilot project will run until the end of the year and will be followed by analysis of the best approach to take to ensure that coin circulation operates in the best way possible.
Did you know:
- Eesti Pank issues an average of two truckloads of one and two cent coins into circulation each year, and only a very few of them make their way back to the central bank. People mostly receive one and two-cent coins as change from shops but very rarely use them for paying with
- The costs of producing and handling one and two-cent coins and their environmental impact are disproportionately large relative to their value
- One and two-cent coins are some 40% of all the coins issued in the euro area
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