There are still plenty of 500 euro banknotes in circulation
Two years after the issuance of the 500 euro note was stopped, large quantities of the most valuable euro banknotes are still in circulation. In its latest statistics at the end of February 2021, the European Central Bank (ECB) counts a good 400 million pieces of the purple note with a total value of 200 billion euros. This means that the value of the five hundred banknotes still in circulation is a third below the high in December 2015, when € 500 banknotes with a total value of almost € 307 billion were still in circulation. Nevertheless, the bill still represents 14 percent of the total euro banknotes in circulation.
At the beginning of May 2016, the Governing Council decided to stop the production and issue of the 500 euro banknote “towards the end of 2018”. The Deutsche Bundesbank and the Austrian National Bank last issued the purple note on April 26, 2019. The other 17 national central banks of the Eurosystem already stopped issuing the 500 euro note on January 26, 2019. The five hundred notes in circulation remain legal tender and can be exchanged at national central banks in the euro area without any time limit.
In the first twelve months after the issuance stop, almost 37 million 500-euro banknotes with a total value of more than 18 billion euros were deposited with the Bundesbank. In May 2019 alone, according to the central bank in Frankfurt, five hundred were worth over three billion euros back. “Since then, the value of the monthly 500-euro banknotes deposited with the Bundesbank has tended to decline and was recently in the range between half a billion and one billion euros,” explained Bundesbank board member Johannes Beermann.