New €50 banknote to be launched at beginning of April

The new €50 banknote is the fourth note in the Europa series and will start circulating in all 19 member states of the euro area on 4 April 2017, where it will join the previously issued new generation of €5, €10 and €20 banknotes.

Bundesbank Executive Board member Carl-Ludwig Thiele is in no doubt that the introduction of the new €50 banknote will run smoothly: "The Bundesbank is already doing what's necessary to ensure that everyone in Germany will be able to pay with the new €50 note at any point of sale right from the very first day of issue." A total of 5.4 billion banknotes with a weight of around 5,400 tonnes will be brought into circulation by the Eurosystem central banks on the issue date.

Judging by past experience, the new €50 note will quickly find its way into people's pockets: when the previous Europa series denominations were launched, it took between two and three months for the new banknotes circulating in Germany to outnumber those from the old series.

High-level security features

Just like the Europa series €20 note before it, the new €50 note boasts one very special security feature – when it is held up to the light, a transparent window reveals a portrait of Europa, a figure from Greek mythology, which is visible on both sides of the note. The new note also features a tactile element to make it easier for people with visual impairments to more easily distinguish between the various denominations. In the first series of euro banknotes, these raised lines on the left and right edges of the notes only appeared on the €200 and €500 notes. These enhanced security features ensure that the €50 note is particularly secure against counterfeiting and make forged €50 banknotes easier to spot. The Bundesbank anticipates that these security features will also help to drive down the number of counterfeit €50 banknotes.

And that's especially important for the €50 note, seeing as it is the mostly widely used denomination in the euro area, with more than eight billion notes in circulation, and a popular denomination among counterfeiters. In 2016, the Bundesbank removed around 82,200 counterfeit euro banknotes from circulation in Germany, which represents a decline of 14% on the previous year. The €50 banknote is currently the most frequently counterfeited denomination in Germany, accounting for a 61% share of all counterfeits.

Preparations under way

Porduction of 50 euro bank notes from the second series ©European Central Bank
The printing presses are already busy producing the new €50 banknote to ensure that the freshly printed notes are ready to be brought into circulation on the issue date. The Bundesbank is responsible for the manufacture of a large portion of the first run of this denomination – some 2.3 billion banknotes. "This presents a great challenge both logistically and in terms of the production technology," said Mr Thiele.

Furthermore, the introduction of a new banknote necessitates extensive technical adjustments. The European Central Bank and the national central banks of the Eurosystem are assisting manufacturers of authentication devices and banknote handling machines in making the necessary technical adjustments to accommodate the new banknote. The Bundesbank is already making the new €50 banknote available to industry partners for testing on their devices, as well as providing extensive information on the new banknote and its security features.

Plans to bring further denominations into circulation in the first half of 2019

The two remaining denominations belonging to the Europa series are scheduled to be introduced in the first half of 2019. Given that there are far fewer €100 and €200 banknotes in circulation compared to the other denominations, it is planned that both denominations will be launched on the same date. At the same time, issuance of the €500 note will be discontinued, thereby reducing the number of banknote denominations from seven to six.