New €100 and €200 banknotes enter circulation today – but they are not accepted everywhere

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In September 2018, the European Central Bank announced plans to introduce new €100 and €200 banknotes which are more robust and have better anti-counterfeiting measures than their predecessors. The new banknotes, which enter circulation today, are the final denominations to be issued in the current ‘Europa’ series now that the €500 note has officially ceased production.

All existing euro notes in circulation, including €100, €200 and €500, will remain legal tender and no date has been given for their withdrawal so don’t worry if you have some stashed away in your holiday wallet.

The ‘Europa’ series of banknotes. Source: European Central Bank

Large euro notes are not accepted everywhere

Despite the renewed euro notes entering circulation today, acceptance of large denomination notes is still patchy and many shops and restaurants in Europe are unable or unwilling to exchange them.

A €200 note is equivalent to £180, and the largest €500 note is worth £450.

Concerns about counterfeiting mean many businesses avoid large notes altogether, and you will usually pay a premium of 1-3% for exchanging them back into pounds in the UK due to the extra counterfeiting checks that need to be carried out.

To find out how easy it is to spend large euro notes, we surveyed 24 top hotels, restaurants and tourist destinations across Europe and asked them to tell us the largest denomination notes they accept. 40% of destinations told us they would not accept notes larger than €100, and one – the Flying Cinema Tour of Helsinki – told us they only accept €50 notes and smaller.

Destination Largest note accepted
Legoland, Germany €500
Europa Park, Germany €500
Phantasia Land, Germany €500
Gardaland Resort, Italy €500
Hotel Adlon Kempinski, Germany €500
AC Hotel Arezzo, Italy €500
AHHAA Science Centre, Estonia €500
Popeye Village, Malta €500
Ebbelwoi Unser Restaurant, Germany €500
Restaurant Bon Bon, France €500
Rundale Palace, Latvia €500
Castelo de São Jorge, Portugal €500
Restaurant Ask, Finland €500
Dublin Skylon Hotel, Ireland €100
Kreutzwald Hotel, Estonia €100
Rakvere Castle, Estonia €100
Topaz Hotel, Malta €100
Mediterraneo Theme Park, Malta €100
Modave Castle, Belgium €100
Sea Life, Finland €100
Hoge Veluwe National Park, Netherlands €100
Lemontree & Sky Bar Restaurant, Slovakia €100
Leolandia, Italy €100
Flying Cinema Tour of Helsinki, Finland €50

The good news is more than half of all destinations would happily accept the largest €500 note.

However, given that these notes are no longer being produced and can be difficult to exchange back into pounds, it might be a good idea to spend them during your next trip to Europe if you’re fortunate enough to have any lying around.

How common are large euro notes?

Currency suppliers are aware of the need for a good mix of notes and will always try to include a range of denominations when sending out orders.

Typically, the notes you receive will depend on the size of your order. No currency supplier would issue a €100 note for a €100 order; likewise, you wouldn’t receive a €2500 order in €10 notes.

We spoke to six of our currency partners and asked them for the largest euro notes they sell. Five told us they only issue €100 notes and lower, and the Post Office said they only issue €10, €20 and €50 notes and have no plans to issue larger denominations.

Currency supplier Largest euro note issued
Eurochange €200
ACE-FX €100
Covent Garden FX €100
Ruislip Currency €100
Travel FX €100
Post Office €50

Getting a good mix of notes

Rest assured that you’ll never receive an unwieldy large note if you buy your euros online through us.

If you’re concerned about the denominations you’ll receive, most currency suppliers will allow you to specify the exact denominations you want if you contact them before placing your order, and you’ll also receive a better exchange rate if you order online compared to the high street.

Have you ever had trouble spending a large denomination note? Let us know in the comments below.

Posted by Graham Morley

Graham Morley

Graham is the Business Development Manager for Compare Holiday Money.

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