The ECB has discontinued the 500 euro banknote, and it will be removed from circulation by 2018.
The move is aimed at hampering drug smugglers, terrorists and money launderers who favour the large denomination note. 500 euro notes are widely circulated, easily exchanged, and the currency is strong and relatively stable – making it the prefered method of making large payments for illicit activity.
According to a Harvard study the equivalent of US$1 million, in 500 euro notes, would weigh just 5 pounds and would be small enough to conceal in a small bag. Using a US $100 bill, the largest American bill in circulation, US$1 million would weigh in at 22 pounds and would require a large bag or briefcase.
Once the 500 euro is completely removed from circulation, the next highest denomination will be the 200 euro note. US$1 million worth of 200 euro notes would weigh in at around 12 pounds.
Smaller notes make it more difficult and costly for criminals to transfer and conceal their illegal cash, and increase the risk of large transactions.
If you still have any 500 euro notes, they can still be exchanged at your local currency exchange service provider, or at any major European bank.
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