There are 19 countries which fall under the Euro Zone. Out of these 19 countries, 17 have stopped issuing and circulating €500. These notes are the largest denomination notes circulating within the eurozone. The two countries which are still printing and circulating €500 notes are Australia and Germany. Officials have stated that the two countries have taken this decision so that there are no hindrances in the transition phase. Some are even citing logistical challenges.
The decision for discontinuing this high-denomination banknote was taken by various countries because European Central Bank believes that these notes are being used by criminals for money laundering and other illegal activities. Experts also fear that the notes are being used to fund terrorism.
As per ECB’s statistics, the €500 notes make for only 2.4 per cent of all the notes in circulation but they equal 20 per cent of the total value. 521 million such notes were in circulation by the end of November. The existing €500 notes are still being circulated legally within the Euro Zone, as only the production and circulation of new €500 notes has been halted.
Image Courtesy: Google Images