Swiss banks gear up for new currency series

At some point the old 50-franc notes will become collector's items Keystone

The term “new money” will take on new meaning on April 12, when Switzerland introduces a new version of its 50-franc note. Some Swiss banks are already performing the necessary alterations to their automatic teller machines.

This content was published on March 24, 2016 - 21:20 and agencies

Following release of the new 50-franc note, other denominations will be introduced at intervals of 6 months to a year, with the entire new series expected to be in circulation by 2019.

Surprisingly for Switzerland, known for its punctuality, the Swiss National Bank (SNB) is more than five years behind schedule in releasing the new bills. The last time the currency was updated was between 1995 and 1998.

Because the bills are smaller, all the banks in the country will have to adapt their money machines.

For Valiant, one of the country’s smaller banks, the changeover will require an investment of around CHF70,000 ($71,731) to upgrade 230 bankomats at a cost of CHF175 to CHF450 per machine.

Postfinance, which has 1,000 machines in Switzerland, is waiting for the new bills to be introduced before it undertakes the retrofitting. The process will take three to five working days, said Postfinance spokesman Johannes Möri.

Each new release will require further adaptation of the money machines.

The smaller bills are designed to facilitate automatic processing and to reduce warehousing, transportation and production costs.

They’ll also take up less room in the wallets – or briefcases – of people doing business in Switzerland.

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