Brussels, 6 January 2011
Euro changeover is proceeding smoothly in Estonia
The changeover to the euro in Estonia is proceeding according to plan. By the end of Wednesday 5 January, an important milestone was passed as more than half (54 %) of cash payments in shops were made in euro only. Virtually all customers were also getting their change in the currency they now share with some 330 million Europeans. No major problems were observed in banks or in the retail sector.
Estonia adopted the euro on 1 January, thus becoming the 17th member of the euro area. The changeover is steadily progressing. At the end of the fifth changeover day 54 % of consumers were paying with euro only when using cash and virtually all (96 %) customers were receiving their change in their new currency. The euro is also taking precedence in the wallets of Estonians, with over half of citizens polled saying they carried mostly euro cash (54 % carrying only or mostly euro banknotes and 68 % only or mostly euro coins) and about a third carrying only euro cash in their wallets (31 % for banknotes and 35 % for coins).
The retail sector has been coping well with the changeover process and parallel handling of two currencies and has in many cases employed additional staff at the checkout counters to deal with these challenges. Small shops in rural areas that are not located close to a bank or post office do however face particular challenges as citizens may use them as a channel to change their kroon cash for euro.
Most banks and post offices were open for cash services during the week-end. As from Monday the number of over-the-counter transactions increased considerably, with especially the first pension payment yesterday 5 January representing a particular challenge, which unavoidably led to some queues.
ATMs (cash dispensers) were also reported to function normally despite a much higher number of withdrawals than normal and the transport of euro cash to banks and shops and the withdrawal of kroon cash to the central bank were running smoothly.
The Estonian Consumer Protection Board is carrying out daily inspections to monitor that businesses respect the changeover rules and that prices are properly converted at the official conversion rate of 15.6466 kroons to the euro.
For more information on the Estonian changeover and the full opinion poll see:
Estonia's national changeover web site:
For more information on the euro see: