Why are there no more 500 notes?


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The 500 note was first issued along with the 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 notes in 2002. Sometimes nicknamed the "bin Laden note", it is little used by the great public compared to other tickets. Since the end of 2018, the European Central Bank has stopped issuing them. There are many reasons for the deletion of this post, this is what we will show you through this article.

(Picture illustration of the removal of 500 euro banknotes, image taken via the Internet)

What does the erasure of the 500 euro note mean?

Since 2013, the banknotes of the “Europe” series have started to appear, gradually replacing those of the first series issued in 2002. This series does not include the 500 euro banknotes. Indeed, the cessation of production and issuance of these was announced by the ECB on May 4, 2016.

However, even being removed from the new series, the 500 note will not be withdrawn from the market. Even if the ECB has decided not to produce any more, it specifies that this note will always retain its exchange value. It can therefore be exchanged with all the national central banks that are part of the Eurosystem for an unlimited period. The ECB underlined that the abolition of the 500 euro note is linked to the fight against organized crime. Since then, the deposit of these banknotes at central bank counters has increased.

What are the reasons why the 500 note has been abolished?

There are two main reasons for the abolition of the 500 euro note, including:

  • Its low use;
  • His employment in dark affairs.

Most Europeans do not use the 500 euro denomination on a daily basis as it is such a high value note. For example, this ticket is not issued by any distributor in France. Moreover, the majority of traders refuse it. In addition, in 2016, the various payment methods, such as online purchases and mobile money payments, began to develop in Europe and around the world. Since its introduction, the 500 banknote represents only 3 % of the overall volume of euros used in the euro zone, so its decline was obvious.

The high value of the 500 note has encouraged its use in less than stellar cases such as terrorist financing, money laundering, and tax evasion. It is particularly easy to transfer large sums of money using the 500 notes. If a million euros of 50 euro notes weigh up to 22 kilos, the 500 euro notes which are worth one million weigh only 2.2 kilos, which allows transport that is both easy and discreet.

The deletion of this ticket thus aims to reduce these dark affairs in the long term.

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