New €200 and €100 banknotes bearing upgraded security features entered into circulation around the Euro Zone Tuesday. This will complete the new Europa series of banknotes that had been introduced gradually across the euro area over the past few years.
New €5, €10, €20 and €50 currencies are already in circulation.
The European Central Bank said that the Europa series offers better protection against counterfeiting, making Euro banknotes even more secure.
The new €100 and €200 banknotes have the same security features as the €50 banknote, such as a portrait in the watermark and in the hologram.
The upgraded ones are harder to counterfeit but still easy to check, according to ECB.
At the top of the silvery stripe a satellite hologram shows small € symbols that move around the number when the banknote is tilted and become clearer under direct light. The new €100 and €200 banknotes also feature an enhanced emerald number. While the emerald number is present on all the other notes of the Europa series, this enhanced version also shows € symbols inside the number.
“If you hold the banknote up to the light and then on the left hand side you see the watermark with the portrait of … Europa and on the right hand side, on the top of the silver stripe, you have a portrait window, also with the portrait of Europa,” European Central Bank (ECB) Banknotes Director Ton Roos said as he held up a new 100 euro note.
“When you look to the (bottom left) corner, you have a numeral that is green … when you tilt the note … you see a light line going up and down and inside the numeral you see little euro logos,” he said.
“We try always to develop very sophisticated security features because we want to stay far ahead of the counterfeiters,” he added.
The new €100 and €200 notes are now the same height as the €50 banknote, which makes them easier to handle and process by machines.
The €100 is the third most widely used Euro banknote, after the €50 and the €20. The demand for €100 and €200 banknotes is increasing, at an annual rate of 7.6% for the €100 and 8.6% for the €200, ECB said in a press release.
The central ban made it clear that the old €100 and €200 banknotes will remain legal tender. They will continue to circulate alongside the new notes and will be gradually withdrawn.
At a time economies are moving towards a cashless system with online monetary transactions and card payments, ECB says global trends indicate that the demand for cash continues to grow.
Since the introduction of the Euro in 2002, the number of banknotes in circulation in the Euro area has tripled and now stands at 21 billion, ECB estimates.
Roos said the ECB was printing about 2.3 billion 100 denomination banknotes but not all banknotes would be introduced immediately, as some would be kept in the central bank vault and sent to commercial banks when needed.
National central banks within the euro zone have jointly printed the currency’s banknotes since 2002, with each institution accountable for a proportion of the total annual production in one or several denominations.