€500 banknote still legal tender

Real or fake? Credit: Ivan Radic flickr

WHEN the concept of introducing a euro zone currency was first muted, each member state was invited to join and to confirm what denomination of coins and bank notes they wanted.

Initially there were just 11 countries who wanted to join the common currency and these were Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal and Spain.

At that time Germany, supported by Austria didn’t want to see large notes disappear as many transactions in those two countries were carried out in cash and as Germany had a 500 Deutschmark note, it was agreed that there should be a €500 note.

As time passed and the membership expanded to 20 (with more to come in the future) so did the fear that many countries had that a €500 note was ideal for money launderers and smugglers.

It was calculated that if they wanted to move €1 million anywhere around the world, the weight when using €500 notes was 2.2 kilos as opposed to 20 kilos if using €50 notes and obviously the packages were much smaller as well.

When new bank note designs were being considered, the European Central Bank confirmed that with effect from the end of 2018, no new €500 bank notes would be printed, except in Austria and Germany where they would continue for a further three months.

Many people in Spain are of the opinion that the €500 note has been withdrawn completely but in fact they are legal tender across the Euro Zone and may be used legally for transactions in Spain although there are rules concerning the amount of cash that may be tendered when settling an invoice.

It is estimated that there are still around 300 million of these notes in circulation, so with €150 billion still skulking around, that’s a lot of 2.2 kilo parcels still to be made and of course, no one knows how many counterfeit notes have passed into circulation.

Thank you for taking the time to read this article. Do remember to come back and check The Euro Weekly News website for all your up-to-date local and international news stories and remember, you can also follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

Written by

John Smith

Married to Ophelia in Gibraltar in 1978, John has spent much of his life travelling on security print and minting business and visited every continent except Antarctica. Having retired several years ago, the couple moved to their house in Estepona and John became a regular news writer for the EWN Media Group taking particular interest in Finance, Gibraltar and Costa del Sol Social Scene. Currently he is acting as Editorial Consultant for the paper helping to shape its future development. Share your story with us by emailing newsdesk@euroweeklynews.com, by calling +34 951 38 61 61 or by messaging our Facebook page www.facebook.com/EuroWeeklyNews