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Monday 21.08.2017 | Name days: Linda, Janīna

First day with euro: opinions of traders and customers

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUThe transition to euro has been progressing rather smoothly in Latvia. Thanks to timely executed preparations for euro adoption, which includes adaptation of cash register software and staff training, there have been no complications so far, as reported by traders.

‘Transactions with small change increased at all VIRŠI-A petrol stations on the first day of 2014. Residents want to get rid of lats and santim. This is why they prefer to make exact transactions with cash. In order to make sure petrol stations do not become a preferred currency exchange locations, we urge customers to avoid using lat banknotes with large nominal value. Residents understand this and often use credit cards for transactions. Customers also often drop change in special donation boxes located at VIRŠI-A petrol stations,’ – says VIRŠI-A Chairman Jānis Riekstiņš.

According to petrol station traders, Latvian residents are very positive about euro. Some say they are happy to receive euro banknotes. There was even a surprise in Krustpils: there, a foreigner who had been in Latvia at the end of last year but was not aware of Latvia’s introduction of euro was pleasantly surprised when he received change for his purchase in euro.

‘Even though yesterday was the first day of New Year, when there are few customers, there was no shortage of customers at ELVI. People go shopping to experience this new currency for themselves,’ – says SIA ELVI Latvia Commercial Director Laila Vārtukapteine.

‘The first day of euro and lat simultaneous circulation went by smoothly at ELVI stores. We should be grateful for this to our staff and, of course, our customers. The latter are positive, understanding and often use the advantages provided by ELVI. For example, our ELVI store situated in SIA VITA supermarket in Sigulda has a special fast checkout point where residents can pay for their purchases with either euro or credit card,’ – she said.

As it is known, Latvia entered Eurozone and successfully introduced euro January 1, 2014. Preparations for this day lasted nearly 10 years.

‘This New Year’s Eve and Latvia’s joining of Eurozone was one of the most carefully planned processes in Latvia’s history. Everything began 10 years ago – shortly after the vote and Latvia’s joining of the European Union. The main objective – making sure that currency exchange is performed smoothly during the first 14 hours – was successfully completed,’ – said State Secretary to Finance Ministry Sanita Bajāre.

According to information from 24/7 stores, hotels, restaurants, petrol stations and other trade locations and entrepreneurs, reprogramming of cash registers and card terminals was successful. Companies that were active on January 1 report payment card servicing and euro transactions were made available shortly after midnight.

Latvians were also active in their preparation for euro introduction, depositing their remaining cash funds on their bank accounts. At the end of 2013, there was a total of LVL 630.8 million of cash in circulation, which is half of what was available at the beginning of 2013.

Consumer Rights Protection Centre carried out inspections at 25 trade and service locations on January 1, 2014. This was done to make sure things were going smoothly – enough euro to hand out to buyers as change, accurate transactions, working software of cash registers, etc.

As previously reported, residents can still pay for their purchases with lats. This period will last until January 14, 2014. When residents pay for their purchases in lat, traders are obligated to calculate the change to give customers in euro. This makes the calculation process more complicated for traders and increases the probability of miscalculation. In order to make sure traders perform their duties accordingly, CRPC plans to carry out a series of surprise inspections this year.


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