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Slovenia Business Week no. 03: The Tolar Goes into Retirement

People will still be able to change tolars for euros at banks and post offices commission-free until 1 March, whereupon banks will be allowed to start charging commission

Sunday, 14 January marked the final day of the two-week period of dual circulation that started when Slovenia introduced the euro as legal tender on 1 January. As of Monday, 15 January, all transactions will have to be carried out in euros and the tolar will bid farewell after a brief but eventful 15 years as the national currency.

People will still be able to change tolars for euros at banks and post offices commission-free until 1 March, whereupon banks will be allowed to start charging commission.

Care has also been taken for those who chance upon stashed tolars in the years to come: coins will be accepted by the central bank, Banka Slovenije, for ten years and bills changed at face value indefinitely.

The withdrawal of tolars from circulation was quite fast and 40% of all cash in circulation had been in bank safes at the end of the first working day of the year. By the end of 10 January the figure rose to 80%, according to the European Commission.

The Commission, which has been keeping a close eye on the changeover, also found that on 10 January some 94% of Slovenians had only or mostly euro notes in their wallets, of which 82% had only euro banknotes. The corresponding figures for euro coins were 95 and 81%.

According to the central bank, whereas banknotes are quickly piling up at banks, coins are trickling in only slowly. Slovenia's largest bank, NLB, was expected to collect some 500 tonnes of coins, but it has indeed collected only 300 tonnes so far.

Surveys suggest that many people will keep small collections of coins for posterity. Additionally, many charities have taken advantage of the changeover to collect coins in plastic bottles at stores and banks, which they will probably take to the banks in the coming days.

Although the tolar has consistently shown up in surveys as the most trustworthy Slovenian institution, it seems it will not be sorely missed. In an Eurobarometer survey in November showed that 72% were satisfied of exceptionally satisfied with the changeover to the euro.

Even though it will not be around in tangible form, the tolar will stick around until June. That is how long all prices must be indicated in euros as well as tolars in order to get people used to how much euros are actually worth, considering that the exchange rate of 239.64 tolars to the euro is not exactly round or convenient.

Source: Slovenian Press Agency STA

Author: STA, Slovenian National Press Agency