Check down the back of the sofa - plenty of old money still out there

More than €350m in old Irish notes and coins is sitting in jam jars and piggy banks around the country and has yet to be cashed in,writes Conall Ó Fátharta.

The Central Bank has said €226.79m in unclaimed Irish bank notes is still in circulation, along with €123.67m in coins. This is despite the euro replacing the Irish punt 15 years ago.

More surprisingly still is that old coins and notes continue to be cashed in on a daily basis. The corresponding figures for the end of 2016 were €227.13m and €123.74m.

So, it’s clear that not only is it out there but that households are still making a few bob by bringing it back to the bank.

Across the eurozone area, almost €15bn in outdated banknotes has gone unclaimed.

Just under half of this unclaimed money relates to Germany, followed by France, Spain, Italy, and the Netherlands.

However, one third of this €15bn is now worthless. This is because 12 national central banks have stopped taking in old currency and exchanging it for euro. These include the central banks of Italy, France, Greece, and Finland.

However, the Germans are in luck as the Bundesbank says it will continue to allow exchanges of deutschmarks for the foreseeable future. Ireland is also in the same boat, with the Central Bank continuing to allow people to exchange punts for euros.

This story first appeared in the Irish Examiner.

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