On 1 January, the Baltic country became the 17th state to adopt the euro. Estonians were able to take out euro banknotes from cash machines (ATMs) within minutes of the changeover.
Officials said that no major problems were reported and nearly all ATMs were able to dispense euro notes within the first hour of 2011. Shops accepted euro cash and card payments on New Year’s Day and banks opened to exchange and dispense cash.
A two-week transitional period gives Estonians a chance to use up their old currency in shops and receive change in euros.
High euro uptake
According to the latest figures, most payments in shops in Estonia are still being made in kroons. By the end of 3 January, 30% of cash purchases were carried out solely in euros, up from 20% on the first day after the switchover. The European Commission said this rate of uptake was significantly higher than during previous currency changes.
The survey indicated that 92% of change given in shops by the end of Sunday was already in the new currency, although this dropped to 88% at the end of Monday. The Commission said giving change in euros was important so that kroons would be withdrawn from circulation as soon as possible.
Authorities told businesses that when converting from kroons to euros they could not round up prices by more than one euro-cent, using an exchange rate of 15.64 kroons to the euro.
Shops and other services are obliged to display the price in both currencies. Estonian officials said price developments were being monitored, particularly for the most frequently consumed food products, cheaper commodities and the most popular services, but there were no reports of a widespread hike in prices.
A spokeswoman for the Estonian finance ministry said: “Changeover is progressing smoothly. The state, the banks and the retailers have been well prepared.
“All systems were successfully converted, including card payments and ATMs.”