Wednesday 4 May 2016 5:54 pm
Goodbye, €500 note. We hardly knew you
The €500 note will be withdrawn from circulation by the end of 2018, the European Central Bank (ECB) confirmed this afternoon. The violet-coloured note, dubbed the "Bin Laden" in parts of the Eurozone because of how rarely it is spotted in everyday life, is one of the highest value notes in circulation anywhere in the world. Its design features modern, non-specific architectural drawings.
The ECB was concerned that that note was being used almost exclusively for criminal activities, since large denomination notes make it easier to store, conceal and transport large sums of money.
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A statement from the ECB said: "[We] have decided to permanently stop producing the €500 banknote and to exclude it from the Europa series, taking into account concerns that this banknote could facilitate illicit activities.
"The issuance of the €500 will be stopped around the end of 2018, when the €100 and €200 banknotes of the Europa series are planned to be introduced. The other denominations – from €5 to €200 – will remain in place."
It confirmed that the note will be withdrawn from circulation "around the end of 2018", but will retain its value after that date.