Are Old Euro Banknotes Still Valid?

Are Old Euro Banknotes Still Valid?

The euro is the common currency used in the European Union and is used by over 340 million people across Europe. The name “the euro” was chosen in 1995 by a European Council meeting held in Madrid. The symbol € is based on the Greek letter epsilon (Є), with the first letter of the word “Europe” and with two parallel lines indicating stability. The ISO code for the euro is EUR.

Euro bank notes are issued by the central banks of European countries after the approval from the European Central Bank and they are legal tender in the Euro area. These notes are printed in 11 locations across Europe.

There are two different series of euro notes in circulation. The first series comprises seven different denominations (€5, €10, €20, €50, €100, €200 and €500) and the second series, or Europa series, has the same denominations, except the €500 denomination. No matter what the series is, each euro banknote denomination can be visually recognized by a dominant colour and architectural motif.

The dimensions of the euro banknotes of the first and the second series of the €5, €10, €20 and €50 are identical, while the dimensions of the €100 and €200 banknotes of the first and the second series differ. The second series is called Europa because the banknotes feature a portrait of Europa, a figure from Greek mythology. The first series was issued in 2002, while the euro banknotes of the Europa series were issued gradually over the period between 2013 and 2019.

The obverse side of each euro banknote of the first series bears the signature of one of the former Presidents of the European Central Bank: Willem F. Duisenberg (the first), Jean-Claude Trichet (the second) or Mario Draghi (the third). The signature is located under the initials of the name of the European Central Bank. The obverse side of each Europa series euro banknotes bears the signature of the third President of the European Central Bank Mario Draghi or the current President Christine Lagarde. The signature is featured under the EU flag motif. All banknotes are equally valid, irrespective of the signature implemented in their design.

Nowadays many people talk about the old and new Euro banknotes and there are many rumors and fake news spreading about this currency. Issuing of the Second Series of Euro banknotes stopped in May 2019. The First Series of Euro banknotes from €5 to €500, issued since 2002, and now being replaced by the newer set of euro banknotes from €5 to €200.

What was replaced?

In the year 2019 the following bank notes from the first series of Euro banknotes were replaced by newer euro banknotes from the second series.

  • €5 – euro banknote
  • €10 – euro banknote
  • €20 – euro banknote
  • €50 – euro banknote
  • €100 – euro banknote
  • €200 – euro banknote
What happened to the 500 Euro banknote?

The European Central Bank did not include a €500 euro banknote in the Second Series of Euro banknotes. Therefore €500 Euro banknotes will no longer be issued and they are no longer in circulation since 2019.

So €500 euro banknotes from the First Series are still valid but they are being withdrawn from circulation.

What about the euro banknotes from the first series?

However, the banknotes from the first series remain valid and you can spend them around Europe including the UK without any issues. But non-European countries will not buy the euro banknotes from the first series.

In the UK many British customers prefer Euro banknotes from the second series when purchasing. Due to this reason some British exchanges may not accept Euro banknotes from the First Series from their customers.

The banknotes from the first series still remain as the legal tender. They have the exact same value as the equivalent banknotes of the Second Series of Euro banknotes. Both types of Euro banknotes circulate around the Euro-zone.

On the other hand, the 500-euro banknote also remains as a legal tender, but it is more difficult spending them, as most vendors in the Euro-zone don’t accept €500 notes for payments.

What to do with your old euro banknotes?

If you still have some old euro notes and are wondering what to do with them? There are plenty of exchanges that will not only exchange your old euro banknotes but they may also accept €500 euro banknotes, euro coins and euro cent coins.

Most of the central banks, retail banks and private exchanges will do the job. Retail or the central banks may apply limits on the amount per transaction. The process will be easy and hassle free if you find the best exchange that handles exchanging the old euro banknotes.

What is the deadline for these old notes?

So far the European Central Bank has not announced a deadline for the exchange of old Euro banknotes from the First Series. So no need to rush but soon there may be an official announcement from the European Central Bank and also from other banks in case there will be a deadline defined.

If you are a frequent visitor to Europe or you have been abroad in the past few years you may surely get some unused euro banknotes from your trip gathering dust at the back of a drawer somewhere. A study shows that the British bring home an average of £90-worth of unspent currencies from their holidays, with a total of £819 million of unused foreign cash just lying down in our homes.

It is the same for the euros and we all think of using these foreign currencies back on our next foreign trip. It is a great idea if the foreign currencies do not get updated over time.

Now that the euro has been updated and new €100 and €200 notes have been introduced for circulation. But the good news is those original series of euro banknotes will still be issued alongside the Europa series until remaining stocks are used up.

While there is no bigger threat of those old Euro notes being dropped from legal tender status, the introduction of these new notes is an alarm to put that unused cash to better use.