Coeure Says ECB is `Actively Considering' a Move on the 500 Note

  • In Le Parisien, Coeure says ECB can't ignore illegal use
  • Use for large payments `less relevant' today, Coeure says

The European Central Bank is assessing the fate of the 500 euro banknote as concerns about its use in money laundering and crime grow and its usefulness for large payments comes into question, said Executive Board member Benoit Coeure.

“Competent authorities increasingly suspect that they are being used for illegal purposes, an argument that we can no longer ignore,” Coeure said in an interview with Le Parisien published Thursday. Asked if the central bank is preparing itself for radical decisions regarding the future of the note, he replied that “we are actively considering this issue and will take a decision soon.”

Benoit Coeure
Benoit Coeure
Photographer: Akos Stiller/Bloomberg

The 500 euro note was issued because some euro-area countries wanted a bill that corresponded with the highest-value note in their former currency, Coeure said, and it was originally useful in facilitating large-value payments.

“But this argument has become increasingly less relevant with the development of electronic payments,” Coeure said.

Withdrawing the 500 “has nothing to do with monetary policy,” he said.

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