Currency

$100 Bills Aren't Just for Drug Dealers

Cash under the mattress makes sense when interest rates go negative.

It beats money in the bank.

Photographer: Daniel Acker

Peter Sands, the former chief executive officer of Standard Bank, is among those who want to abolish high-denomination currency notes, "the preferred payment mechanism of those pursuing illicit activities." In the wacky world of negative interest rates, though, pallets of $100 bills and 500-euro notes are poised to become a fashionable store of value for any cash-rich company unwilling to pay for the privilege of keeping its funds in a bank account.

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