Always trouble with the change

Germany is still a country that depends on change. Small amounts in particular are paid almost exclusively in cash.

Looks like he likes coins.

Mso it makes you crazy. Change that rolls under the sofa, jingles around in coat pockets or dented your wallet. That’s why some people often do when they get home: open wallet, take out coins. When the banks call for the traditional World Savings Day at the end of October this week, there is also a lot of cash slumbering in German households.

Germany is still a country that depends on change. While you pay by card at Scandinavian bakers or English pubs, coins are collected in Germany. Some countries have even banned small cent coins from everyday life – in the Netherlands, for example, purchases are rounded to 5 cents.

Less than 10 percent actually in circulation

In Germany, on the other hand, small amounts in particular are paid almost exclusively in cash – 96 percent of sums up to five euros, according to a study by the Bundesbank last year. According to this, people have an average of 107 euros with them, of which 6 euros are small change. Nobody can say exactly how many coins are still lying around in people’s homes.

But it could be a lot. The Bundesbank assumes that an estimated 60 to 70 percent of cash is now on the move abroad. Around 5 to 10 percent of the coins and bills are in direct circulation, for example at checkouts. The rest? May be being hoarded or lost.

“You shouldn’t forget that there are also a lot of coins between car seats. Or in the winter jacket that you can now get out of the closet, ”says a spokesman for the German Savings Banks and Giro Association in Berlin. In addition, some people also have cash boxes, money boxes or change jars at home.

Fees at banks are not always due

One who empties his change at home is Sparkasse President Helmut Schleweis. In “a beautiful red piggy bank,” as the 64-year-old says. “When it is full, it is paid in nicely.” Some banks are now paying for coins, as a look at the price lists shows.

The institutes would handle this very differently, according to the respective associations of the savings banks, the private banks and the Volks- and Raiffeisenbanken. Some take fees from commercial customers or third-party customers, others from a certain amount or age.

At Hamburger Sparkasse, for example, the “majority” of customers pay nothing, says spokeswoman Stefanie von Carlsburg. Others have been paying a fee since 2016 if they hand in more than five coin rolls and five bags per month.

Security regulations also make coins more expensive

You can also hand in coins in plastic bags (so-called “safe bags”) at the Berliner Sparkasse. Anyone over the age of 26 pays 7.50 euros per bag. Berliner Volksbank takes a fee if you deposit more than 100 euros a month. The handling of cash has become more and more expensive, also due to new requirements, says Schleweis. In the meantime, banks would also have to check hard money for fakes.

“For example, the money has to be counted, checked for fitness and authenticity, prepared for the transport of money and transported insured,” says a spokesman for the Berliner Sparkasse. In the current year, customers have deposited coins worth around 18 million euros there.

Private customers can also exchange coins “in normal household quantities” at no charge at the 35 Bundesbank branches. Provided you have one nearby. It is more complicated for companies – because getting exchange coins can also be expensive. Shops in Kleve, North Rhine-Westphalia, had therefore tried to round things off like in the Netherlands. That didn’t go as hoped.

And so barter deals often arise at shop counters. “I can still give you 27 cents”, customers like to say. And the sellers nod in agreement. So you can get rid of coins when shopping without taking them home. If you don’t know what to do with your change, you can also try a tip. But be careful with the sum. In Rhineland-Palatinate, a drunk passenger caused trouble once – because he offered the taxi driver 3 cents. The driver threw the coins out of the car. In the end the police arrived.