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Cash society Swiss government wants old banknotes to be valid indefinitely

A picture of Swiss banknotes

The Federal Council believes that the change would not increase the risk of crime.

(Keystone)

The deadline of 20 years to exchange recalled banknotes should be abolished, the Federal Council suggested on Wednesday.

The current system, which was introduced in 1921, operates under the assumption that discontinued notes which are not returned to the bank within the exchange deadline have either been lost or damaged.

In a proposal to parliament, the Federal Council suggests that this rule is no longer in keeping with the reality of modern life. Life expectancy and the population’s mobility has increased dramatically in recent years, the government wrote in a statement. Abolishing the conversion deadline would prevent people from suddenly owning money that has become worthless.

+Find out more about the Swiss thousand-franc note 

The Federal Council also said that the change would not increase the risk of crime. The rule that banknotes cannot be used as payments six months after they are recalled would remain the same. After this period, they would need to be exchanged at a Swiss National Bank counter where their authenticity and origin will be established, it said in the statement.

Other internationally significant and globally-traded currencies such as the British pound sterling, the euro and the US dollar can already be exchanged for an unlimited amount of time. 

SDA-ATS/ln

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