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Problem- saving European Currency Notes for the Next Trip

We have always planned to bring currency back from one trip to have for the next trip. However, during this last trip, we ran into two situations where OLD currency notes weren't accepted.

In Switzerland, we were gives 10CHF notes in change, but when we tried to use them, found that they are considered old and not to be in circulation. The new 10 chf notes have a transparent cross in the corner. I believe one could exchange them at a national bank in Zurich or Bern [??], but what a hassle.

At the Duty-Free shop in Heathrow, my husband had GBP from a trip 3-4 years back. The store wouldn't take the 10GBP note, also stating that it had been replaced. Again, we were told we could exchange it at a national bank, which obviously was impossible during a layover. The other option was taking a loss at the Travelex at the airport.

We now have an opportunity to buy Euros from a friend who used to live in Italy. Does anyone have up-to-date info regarding any Euro notes being replaced in the near future? We always thought it was good practice to bring extra currency home.

Thanks for any info!


Posted by
3050 posts

The €-notes where updated in 2013 but the old ones are still valid. So even if you happen to get old notes I wouldn't worry.

Posted by
21660 posts

I have never heard of that being a problem with euro. We have bumped into your problem a couple of times with English pounds but currency exchange handled it or found a local bank.

Posted by
16883 posts

It seems that the EU planned well enough for security features the first time around, so that older First Series notes continue to be valid to date, despite the newer Europa Series versions coming into general usage, and despite new 500€ notes no longer being printed. See, for instance. Discontinuation of a bank note is always announced well in advance, but of course you’re not always keeping up on such news.

Posted by
3889 posts

While it hasn’t been an issue with Euros, on my last trip in 2019 I ensured I spent any old ones before returning. I did bring some back, but they are the newer date. With British pounds, we end every trip to England or Wales with a night or two in London. We exchanged most of the old paper notes for the new polymer ones. Recently read on the England forum that the transition period for the new £20 polymer notes has been extended until some time in 2022.

Posted by
12778 posts

Never had a problem with Euro notes left over from past trips. I make it point to bring back Euro notes in excess of 500 Euros for the next trip.

Posted by
5520 posts

I’ve always made a point of bringing a little currency (and sometimes change) home, but less and less as society becomes more and more cashless. I’m not referring to Venmo and ApplePay and Paypal and the like, just Visa and MasterCard being used so much.

Pat, is your friend offering a deal on the old notes, just to get rid of them, or is this going to be at current fair-market value? You’d be doing your friend a bigger favor that they’d be doing for you, so I’d hope you’d get a break for making your friend more liquid, even if it helped you avoid needing to get to an ATM after landing on your future trip.

Posted by
5769 posts

It depends on the countries currency policy. The UK has a long history of putting "expiration dates" on currency, routinely changing notes as a security precation. The euro does not have that policy, the first ones issued are still valid...though we are only talking 20 years of history.