Paper Money

Most eurozone nations are dropping €500 bank note

Seventeen of the 19 countries using the euro stopped issuing the €500 denomination as of Jan. 27, according to a statement on the website of the European Central Bank and reported by Agence France Press.

The statement added, “Austria and Germany will both continue printing the banknotes until April 26 in order to ensure a smooth transition and for logistical reasons.” 

The highest-denomination note is being discontinued because the European Central Bank suspects that its high value makes it a payment method of choice for money laundering by criminals and for financing terrorist activities.

The ECB’s statistics show that €500 bills comprise only 2.4 percent of the total number of bank notes in circulation, and a little over 20 percent of the total value. At the end of November 521 million of them were in circulation. 

The €500 notes remain legal tender, will continue to circulate, and can be used to as a method of payment. 

At current exchange rates, €500 is about $570. Switzerland continues to issue its 1,000-franc note, which is worth about $1,014.

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