It’s been 10 years now since the euro replaced Germany’s deutschmarks as the official currency of Germany, but that hasn’t stopped German merchants from accepting the old money. The Bundesbank, Germany’s central bank, states that there are still over 13.3 billion deutschmarks that have not yet been converted into euros. With numbers like this, smaller German businesses see it as an opportunity to boost sales by accepting the old money that people don’t want to bother going through the hassle of exchanging.
“A lot of people still have deutschmarks lying around at home and don’t know what to do with them,” stated the haberdashery stand owner, Willy Winzig, in Berlin. His customers usually pay in a combination of deutschmarks and euros since most of the old currency is pocket change found when cleaning around the house. Winzig accepts the deutschmarks at a slightly higher exchange rate of 2.1 per euro (the official rate is 1.95583) since he eventually has to make a trip to the bank to make the exchange. His customers don’t seem to mind the slight increase though since it is often not worth the time or effort to exchange the small amounts on their own.
It isn’t just the small businesses that are accepting the deutschmarks though. Deutsche Telekom will still accept the old currency on all of its remaining coin-operated payphones and the C&A clothing chain accepts roughly 150,000 deutschmarks every month.
As long as people are still holding on to the deutschmarks, businesses will gladly take them off their customer’s hands. Germany is one of the few remaining eurozone countries to still allow the exchange of their old currency, and the Bundesbank has promised to keep exchanging the deutschmarks indefinitely. With 13.3 billion deutschmarks still in existence, it may be a while before Willy Winzig and other German businesses stop taking the old money.
Source: Deutsche Welle
Photo © Bundesbank