A big row over big money has ended with a compromise. The European Central Bank is to stop issuing 500 euro notes, but only from the end of 2018 due to resistance from Germany.
The ECB had wanted to do away with the high-denomination bills for some time, concerned that they are being used by terrorists, drug dealers and money launderers to shift funds around.
US and European law enforcement officials have said they are very popular with criminals, and France stepped up calls for them to be scrapped after last November’s Paris terror attacks.
In February French finance minister Michel Sapin said: “The 500 euro note is used more for concealing things than for buying things. It’s quite normal that we question how it is being used.”
Germany – with a history of hyperinflation and where an estimated 79 percent of transactions are in cash – opposed the 500 euro note’s demise.
It is one of the largest denomination notes in circulation.
There were bigger – the United States and Singapore both had 10,000 dollar bills but they are no longer made.
Still being printed are the 10,000 Brunei dollar bill and Switzerland’s 1,000 franc note.
And even after the 500 euro notes are no longer printed they will remain legal tender for an unlimited period.
Right now around 300 billion euros worth of them are in circulation.