The free part of the coin collection campaign ends, a service fee will apply from Thursday

In a joint campaign by Eesti Pank and Omniva, more than one million coins are likely to have been returned by Wednesday evening. Until the end of the year, euro coins can be exchanged at the post offices of Omniva in the Järve Centre in Tallinn and the Kvartal Centre in Tartu, but from Thursday onwards, a service fee of 5% of the amount exchanged will apply. If at least 50% of the amount to be exchanged is used to pay for the products or services of Omniva at the post office, there is no service fee.

As at Tuesday evening, people had returned 935,934 coins, of which more than 80% were 1-, 2- and 5-cent coins.

‘We are very pleased that the one-million-coin campaign has resonated with people and brought them to actively exchange coins. Almost one million euro coins were exchanged in just one and a half weeks, which was much faster than expected. The large volumes of coin collection have also meant that waiting times have been long, as the speed of the coin machines limits the speed of the service,’ said Kristi Unt, the Estonian Country Manager at Omniva.

‘Every coin returned means fewer new coins need to be produced. Many thanks to all the people who took up the call and contributed to reducing the environmental impact of the coin circulation. Small red coins have a very large environmental footprint compared to the value of the coins,’ said Martti Näksi, Head of the Cash Handling Division of Eesti Pank.

He added that this is a pilot project for Eesti Pank. ‘People brought in very large quantities of coins during the free campaign. In the long term, however, it is not feasible to provide this service free of charge. This is why the next phase of the current pilot project where people will have to pay a 5% fee to exchange coins is also important for us. When the pilot project comes to an end at the end of the year, we will be able to analyse what should we do to make the coin circulation work as well as possible.”

According to Näksi, a solution that is likely to work for the coin circulation is for Estonia to start rounding the final price of a shopping basket (instead of the price of individual products) mathematically to the nearest five cents when people pay in cash. There would be no rounding for card payments. Surveys show that the vast majority of people in Estonia would support this solution, but as it would require law amendments, Eesti Pank is currently in active communication with the ministries.

As part of the coin collection, euro coins will be exchanged for banknotes and higher-value coins; up to 3 kg of coins in an amount up to 200 euros can be brought in at a time.

Eesti Pank sends an average of two truckloads of one- and two-cent coins into circulation each year, of which only a very small proportion is returned to the central bank. People get one- and two-cent coins mostly as change in shops, but use them very little for their own purchases.



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