Those who have long been preaching the final farewell to the euro will, for the time being, have to be more modestly satisfied with the abolition of the EURÂ 500 note, the purple note, to put it bluntly. In fact, for some time now, this denomination of the single currency, which was the largest in circulation, had become virtually unobtainable.
Now, however, in accordance with a 2016 European standard, from 1 January 2019, almost all the central banks participating in the single currency will officially stop printing 500-euro notes.
The only two exceptions are the central banks of Germany and Austria which, for strictly logistical reasons, will adapt to the ban on printing only from next 26 April 2019.
Combating money laundering
The reasons for this abandonment of the EUR 500 denomination are mainly due to the fight against money laundering and tax evasion. Indeed, numerous investigations into financial crimes had shown that most of the time the proceeds of illegal trafficking, starting with the very lucrative drug trade, were deposited in current accounts using EUR 500 notes.
This large denomination in fact allowed to rake huge amounts of money, which could then be more easily transportable and therefore recyclable. This means, therefore, that for the simple European citizen, starting with the Italian citizen, who will probably very rarely have a 500 euro note in his hands, it will not change much.
However, the question remains: what risks will those who find themselves using a banknote of this type run, perhaps because they still have it at home or in their wallets, after 1 January 2019?
The risks for those who will continue to use them
So let us say at the outset that, unless we are high-level criminals who need to launder money, there will be no risk of still having a EURÂ 500 note in our hands. In fact, the withdrawal will take place gradually, and therefore those who, very accidentally, find themselves having a EURÂ 500 note in their wallet, or perhaps better still in a drawer at home, will always have time and opportunity to go to the bank and have it changed.
So don’t panic, also because, as mentioned, at the European level for a few months two central banks, and one of them also very important as the German one, will continue to print the cuts from 500.
In any case, even in the months, and if you want in the coming years, anyone can always at any time should be in possession of a banknote of 500 euros, change it: or, as already mentioned, at a credit institution, or, in the worst case, going to a headquarters of the central bank of your country of residence.