BRUSSELS (dpa-AFX) - New €100 and €200 banknotes bearing upgraded security features entered into circulation around the Euro Zone Tuesday.
This will complete the new Europa series of banknotes that had been introduced gradually across the euro area over the past few years.
New €5, €10, €20 and €50 currencies are already in circulation.
The European Central Bank said that the Europa series offers better protection against counterfeiting, making Euro banknotes even more secure.
The new €100 and €200 banknotes have the same security features as the €50 banknote, such as a portrait in the watermark and in the hologram.
The upgraded ones are harder to counterfeit but still easy to check, according to ECB.
At the top of the silvery stripe a satellite hologram shows small € symbols that move around the number when the banknote is tilted and become clearer under direct light. The new €100 and €200 banknotes also feature an enhanced emerald number. While the emerald number is present on all the other notes of the Europa series, this enhanced version also shows € symbols inside the number.
The new €100 and €200 notes are now the same height as the €50 banknote, which makes them easier to handle and process by machines.
The €100 is the third most widely used Euro banknote, after the €50 and the €20. The demand for €100 and €200 banknotes is increasing, at an annual rate of 7.6% for the €100 and 8.6% for the €200, ECB said in a press release.
The central ban made it clear that the old €100 and €200 banknotes will remain legal tender. They will continue to circulate alongside the new notes and will be gradually withdrawn.
At a time economies are moving towards a cashless system with online monetary transactions and card payments, ECB says global trends indicate that the demand for cash continues to grow.
Since the introduction of the Euro in 2002, the number of banknotes in circulation in the Euro area has tripled and now stands at 21 billion, ECB estimates.
Copyright RTT News/dpa-AFX