The new €50 note enters circulation
Since 4 April, citizens in the 19 countries making up the euro area have been able to obtain the new €50 banknotes from ATMs and bank counters. It is the fourth note in the so-called "Europa series", which has gradually replaced the existing euro banknotes.
The Eurosystem central banks has brought a total volume of 5.4 billion €50 notes into circulation, weighing around 5,400 tonnes. 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. As Carl-Ludwig Thiele, the Bundesbank Executive Board member responsible for cash management remarked,
"The €50 banknotes of the first series will retain their validity and can be exchanged at face value at the Bundesbank or any other Eurosystem national central bank for an unlimited period of time"
High-level security features
Just like the Europa series €20 note before it, the new €50 note boasts one very special 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. This image of Europa is additionally visible on the note as a watermark. Another new feature is the emerald number which, as with all the other denominations in the new series, now appears on the €50 note.
The new notes also incorporate a special tangible feature to help users with impaired vision distinguish between the different denominations. Among the first series of notes to be issued, only the €200 and €500 notes featured these structural elements on the edge of each banknote, which can be felt when touched. These enhanced security features set the bar very high for counterfeiters and make forged €50 banknotes easier to spot. The Bundesbank anticipates that these measures will also reduce the number of forged €50 notes in circulation.
Most important denomination in the euro area
This is 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 Germany, the Bundesbank removed around 82,200 counterfeit euro notes from circulation in 2016; this represented a year-on-year decline in volume of 14%. The €50 banknote is currently the most frequently counterfeited denomination in Germany, accounting for 61% of the total volume of counterfeits.