Paper Money

EU releases new €50 note in Europa series

The new €50 bank note, with a number of upgraded security features, started circulating on April 4. The note is the fourth member of the second, or “Europa,” series of paper currency issued for the 19 nations of the European Union by the European Central Bank. The €5, €10, and €20 notes are already issued, and the €100 and €200 will be issued at the beginning of 2019. No €500 note will be issued in the second series, because in May 2016 the ECB decided not to produce them anymore. The first series is still in circulation, and the bank says they will be legal tender for the foreseeable future.

The new €50 note has the same orange color, 140-by-77-millimeter size, and Renaissance architectural design style as its predecessor, but differs significantly in its anti-counterfeiting measures. The notes include a holographic foil stripe, also used on the €20 note, called Kinegram ReView, with a portrait window near the top that becomes transparent when looked at against the light. Inside the window is a portrait of Europa, a figure from Greek mythology, that is visible on both sides of the note. The same portrait is also used in the watermark, alongside the emerald number, a device made of optically-variable Spark ink that changes from green to blue when the note is tilted. The note also includes raised print for the visually impaired, a security thread with microprinting, properties that can only be seen under ultraviolet or infrared light, and the rings of the Eurion Constellation to deter photo editing and copying.

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The ECB says that the €50 note is its most widely used denomination with over 9 billion of them, or 46 percent of all euro bank notes, in circulation. It has also become the most counterfeited — 42.5 percent of all counterfeit euro bank notes found in circulation last year. The €50 bank notes of the first series will remain legal tender but will be gradually withdrawn. 

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ECB President Mario Draghi took the occasion of the introduction to re-emphasize the importance of cash transactions in the European economy. “Even in this digital age, cash remains essential in our economy,” he said. “A soon-to-be-published survey on cash use, carried out on behalf of the ECB, shows that over three-quarters of all payments at points-of-sale in the euro area are made in cash. In terms of transaction values, that’s slightly more than half.”

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