17 of 19 central banks in the euro area officially halted the issuance of €500 notes as of Sunday, with Germany's Deutsche Bundesbank and Austria's Oesterreichische Nationalbank holding out. They plan on doing so until April 26 "to ensure a smooth transition and for logistical reasons".
The European Central Bank made the decision to stop issuing the high-value bills in 2016, citing their alleged widespread use for money laundering and other crimes. However, critics of the move argue that that loss of the bill will allow banks and governments to clamp down on the flow of cash and thus restrict privacy and personal freedom.asking whether the €500 note's withdrawal meant the "end of cash".
Germans are well-known for their preference for cash money over cards. In a recent Bundesbank poll, cited by Deutsche Welle, some 88 percent of respondents said they would continue to prefer paying in cash even after the €500 bill is no longer issued. Meanwhile, a 2017 Bundesbank study showed that over 60 percent of Germans have used the €500 note, and are holding on to it as a store of value or to pay for large purchases.
Rolf, a medical technician from Marburg, western Germany, told AFP that he found the end of the €500 "hard to accept."
"I prefer using cash for large payments. It doesn't mean I'm involved in anything dodgy," the 61-year-old said. However, Suzanne, a nanny from Frankfurt, said she won't miss the currency. "They wouldn't take it in the shops. I have no need for it," she said.