European Central Bank Stops Printing 500-Euro Banknote


The European Central Bank has announced that it will stop producing the 500-euro banknote. It has become popular among money launderersdrug traffickers and terrorists, who move large amounts of money in small bags or briefcases. The banknotes that are in circulation now can continue to be used, but they will slowly be exchanged for smaller bills. The 500-euro banknote will be phased out completely by 2018. It can be exchanged at national central banks of EU states at any time after this date.

Such large banknotes are not so popular in many countries. In the United States, the largest banknote is the $100 bill . After World War II the US stopped producing $500 and $1000 bills.

Money experts welcome the decision by the EU's main banking authority. They say that with smaller banknotes criminals  will find it more difficult to handle large amounts of money without being noticed.

500-euro banknotes are not used very much in everyday life. While many people are afraid of losing them, some shops do not even accept them. The 500-euro banknote accounts for 30% of the value of all euro banknotes but only 3% of all paper euros in circulation.



The discussion about large banknotes has been going on for  a long time. Especially after the terrorist attacks in Paris and Brussels many experts have called for a ban of large bills because terrorists may use them to pay for their activities.While there are many illegal ways of hiding and transferring money, using cash is among the most popular.



Related Topics


  • accept = take them
  • account for = to form the total of  something
  • amount = how much of something
  • announce = to say officially
  • authority = here: organisation that controls  something
  • ban = forbid
  • bill = banknote
  • briefcase = flat box used for carrying documents and business items
  • cash = banknotes and metal money
  • circulation = here: the money that moves around in a country
  • completely = altogether
  • handle = deal with
  • decision = choice
  • drug trafficker = person who buys and sells drugs
  • especially = above all
  • European Central Bank = the central bank for countries that use the euro
  • exchange = to give something instead of something else
  • illegal = against the law
  • main = most important
  • money launderer = person who moves money that has been made from illegal activities through other banks so that it is hard to find out where it came from
  • notice = to see or become aware of something
  • phase out = to slowly stop using something
  • popular = much liked
  • value = what something is worth
  • welcome = here: to be in favour if something