From 28 May 2019, the European Central Bank (ECB) will be issuing new €100 and €200 banknotes. These are the last in their ‘Europa’ series; the second series of banknotes produced by the bank. These banknotes have much improved security features, protecting you from fraud.
While there is a move to cashless payments in many large EU cities, you’ll still need some cash if you’re visiting rural areas and non-major cities in much of Europe. The European Central Bank says that 90% of all street and market vendor transactions in the euro area were made with cash.
All the lower denominations of note have been reintroduced and have been in circulation for at least 2 years.
Can you still use the old €100 and €200 banknotes?
Yes, you can. All of the old Euros from before the introduction of the Europa series remain legal tender, however the old notes are naturally becoming less common.
When you get your travel money, you may find that you have two differing €100 or €200 notes (for example). This is likely to be a combination of old and new banknotes, so there’s no reason to worry if you find both in your wallet.
There will be no new €500 note. This denomination was stopped with the most recent issue. The old €500 notes are still legal currency.
What’s different about the new €100 and €200 banknotes?
The ECB have given the new banknotes some advanced security features and a new design. The series all feature an image of the Greek character Europa, after whom the continent is named.
The size and shape of the notes have changed slightly. They are now the same height as the latest €50 bill – meaning that they fit more easily in a wallet – however higher values can be determined by the length of the note (the longer, the higher the value).
They’re also more durable than previous notes and should avoid wear and tear better than the first series.
The ECB has a lot of information on the enhanced security features that the new notes have.
Use the “Look, feel and tilt” method
The new banknotes have a few ways of checking their authenticity by touch and sight.
For instance, there are raised, short lines on the left and right edges on the front of the note which, alongside the large-value numeral, feel thicker. By holding the note against the light, you can check that there’s a watermark. There is also a portrait window and a new satellite hologram. The security thread also contains the € symbol and denomination under certain lights.
These are all there to protect you from fraud, making them the safest Euro notes so far.
There are, of course, many other security features which can’t be detected with the naked eye.
Travel Money Card
It’s important to make sure you’ve got cash alongside your credit or debit card in case vendors don’t accept card payments or something goes wrong that prevents their card readers from working.
But for other payments, there’s the Post Office Travel Money Card. This is a pre-paid MasterCard that lets you pay flexibly. It has contactless capability and money can be topped up in and transferred between 13 currencies.
Wherever you’re off to, make sure you’ve got the cash you need by getting travel money. Post Office Travel Money offers a Click & Collect service, where you can purchase your currency online and pick it up at a convenient branch.