Posted by Jeni Evans on May 05, 2016
500-euro note existance until end of 2018

It’s not often that I’ve held a 500-euro note in my hands, and if I have, as I actually can’t remember, it probably wasn’t for very long.

It is unlikely that many more will pass through my fingers ever again, especially since the European Central Bank has just announced that it will cease to produce them by the end of 2018.

After much deliberation, the ECB has finally decided to withdraw the note in just over two years’ time, mainly because of its concerns that this note denomination is often used to facilitate illegal activities such as money laundering and financing terrorism, and it is usually criminals who use them.

The note will still be legal tender after this date and will still keep its value, but it will not be included in the new series of ‘Europe’ notes when they go to print, which will see the introduction of the newly designed 100 euro and 200 euro.

The Eurosystem, which is made up of the ECB and the national central bank for each country that shares the euro as its currency, will take the necessary steps to ensure that there are enough notes of the remaining denominations in circulation.

At the moment, there are currently 600 million 500-euro notes still being used, although this will be less as soon as the operation to phase out their existance begins.

After the cut-off date, it will be possible to exchange a 500-euro note with any of the national banks belonging to the Eurosystem for a determined period after.

While there was some debate within the ECB’s governing council as to whether the removal of the high-denomination note would really curb illegal activities, the proposal was put to the vote, requiring a majority of those in agreement to be given the green light.

Some experts believe that criminals will just find another way of carrying out their activities, with the use of the Bitcoin being a major possibility.

The 500-euro notes in circulation only make up 3.2% of the 18,600 million notes that are in circulation today, but they represent 30% of the value of all of these notes – 290,000 million euro.



  • EU
  • currency
  • euro
  • 500-euro note
  • Bitcoin
  • ECB


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