Frequently asked questions about euro banknotes and coins

How many different series of banknotes are there?

There are currently two different series of euro banknotes:

The first series of banknotes, issued in 2002, coinciding with the launch of the euro, and consisting of seven different denominations: €5, €10, €20, €50, €100, €200 and €500.

The second series of banknotes or the "Europa series", which was gradually introduced between 2013, when €5 banknotes were issued, and 2019, when the €100 and €200 banknotes completed the series. It is known as the “Europa series” in honour of Princess Europa, the figure from Greek mythology who appears in some of its security features and from whom the European continent takes its name.

Unlike the first series, the Europa series only consists of six denominations, as it was decided that €500 banknotes would not be issued in the second series.

You can find more information at the following link.

The banknotes of the first series, issued in 2002, are being progressively replaced by those of the Europa series. Both series are legal tender in the euro area..

The €500 banknote, like the other denominations of euro banknotes, will always retain its value and can be exchanged at the national central banks of the Eurosystem for an unlimited period of time.

For more information, you can consult the following press release:

The European Central Bank (ECB) and the national central banks of the Eurosystem are responsible for ensuring the integrity of euro banknotes. For this reason, with the passage of time, it became necessary to develop a new series that incorporated new and improved security features, in order to make counterfeiting more difficult.

Other aspects, such as durability, were also taken into account in the development of the second series of banknotes. This has lowered both costs and environmental impact, as they have to be replaced less frequently.

The ECB plans to redesign euro banknotes with the collaboration of European citizens. The opinions of people across the euro area on possible themes for future banknotes will be gathered.

You can find more information at the following linkOpens in new window.

People who have a damaged or defective banknote can present it at a Banco de España branch office or, if applicable, at their credit institution for recognition and subsequent exchange for a new one.

As a general rule, damaged banknotes will be replaced if more than half of the original banknote is presented or if it can be proven that the missing part has been destroyed. Stained, soiled or torn banknotes, once inspected, can be exchanged for new banknotes of the same value.

You can find more information at the following link.

Some banknote transportation and custody systems (such as the safe in a cash transportation vehicle or an ATM) incorporate anti-theft devices, also known as intelligent banknote neutralisation systems (IBNSs), loaded with security inks that, if activated, cause the ink to be ejected, rendering the banknotes unusable and worthless. IBNSs may be activated due to a forced access attempt (attempted theft) or accidentally by the transportation and custody professionals.

You can find more information at the following linkOpens in new window.

If you receive a banknote stained with ink from an anti-theft device:

  • Don’t accept it and ask for another one. You can’t be sure that the person offering you the banknote is the rightful owner.
  • Refuse bleached or discoloured banknotes, as criminals have most likely tried to remove IBNS ink stains by washing or bleaching the notes.
  • If you have accepted an ink-stained banknote, you should take it to your bank or a national central bank, letting them know how you got it.
  • If the investigations reveal that the ink stains are from an IBNS, you may not be entitled to a reimbursement. National central banks can exchange euro banknotes stained by anti-theft devices only at the request of the original banknote owner who was the victim of the criminal activity that led to the banknotes being stained.
  • If the investigations confirm that the ink stains are not from an IBNS and the banknote has just been accidentally marked, you will receive a new banknote or a fund transfer into your bank account. 

You can find more information at the following linkOpens in new window.

No. In accordance with the provisions of the Decision of the European Central Bank of 19 April 2013 (ECB/2013/10) File PDF: Opens in new window (836 KB) on the denominations, specifications, reproduction, exchange and withdrawal of euro banknotes, when national central banks have sufficient proof or evidence that genuine euro banknotes have been intentionally damaged, they will refuse to exchange them and will keep them in order to prevent them from recirculating or to prevent the person trying to exchange them from exchanging them at other national central banks.

In this sense, any type of inscription, whatever its aim or purpose, constitutes an improper use of euro banknotes that does not correspond to their monetary purpose, which is the only appropriate use of legal tender banknotes.

Whenever you receive a banknote, you should check that it is genuine by using the “feel, look and tilt” method. If you have any doubt about its authenticity, do not accept it, as   a counterfeit banknote is worthless.

If you suspect that you have a counterfeit banknote, you should immediately notify the police or the relevant authorities or hand it in to the Banco de España. Paying with a known or suspect counterfeit banknote is unlawful.

You can find more information at the following link

According to the provisions of the Council Regulation (EC) 1338/2001Opens in new window,banks, bureaux de change and other professional cash handlers are required to withdraw from circulation any euro coins and banknotes they receive that are counterfeit or suspected of being so. 

In the particular case of transactions carried out at ATMs, when making a deposit, a banknote may be withheld because it is presumably fake. In such a case, the credit institution must send to the Banco de España both the suspicious banknote and a formOpens in new window,

within a maximum period of 15 days. This form includes the banknote’s data and the details of the detection. After this information has been filled in, a registration number will be provided which can be used to consult the file.

Once the allegedly counterfeit banknote is received at the Banco de España, it is  examined by expert personnel to determine if it is genuine or counterfeit. After the appraisal, the banknote holder is informed of the result and the amount is transferred to the holder if it is genuine.

To check the status of your file, you can go to the credit institution or consult the "FormOpens in new window” application on the Banco de España website by clicking on “Consulta del expediente” and entering your identification number (national ID card no.) and the registration number provided by your bank..

The Banco de España will exchange euro banknotes for coins or other banknotes of a different face value for the same amount. However, for the exchange of coins, in order not to hinder the proper functioning of other transactions, a maximum per transaction is allowed:

  • For delivery to the public, the limit shall be 1,000 coins in standard packaging and/or 200 coins without packaging. Notwithstanding the foregoing, and subject to availability of stocks, the Banco de España guarantees the delivery of 100 banknotes of each denomination at the time of presentation for each transaction.

The Banco de España will require visitors to identify themselves by showing their ID card, passport or residence card when the amount they want to change is equal to or greater than €1,000. The Banco de España may also request visitors to identify themselves when the amount to be exchanged is lower than €1,000.

This service is free of charge.

You can find more information at the following linkOpens in new window.

The reproduction of euro banknotes is not a liberalised activity and requires prior authorisation from the central bank of the country where the reproduction is to be made or from the ECB if it is to be reproduced in more than one country.

You can find more information on the requirements that euro banknote reproductions must meet in order to be considered lawful at the following link:

Is the euro used outside Europe?

More than 346 million  Europeans in the 20 countries of the euro area use the euro. In addition, 60 countries and territories outside the euro area, representing 175 million people, have directly or indirectly linked their own currencies to the euro.

Outside our continent, the outermost territories of the EU and the French overseas territories also use the euro.

The European microstates of Andorra, Monaco, San Marino and the Vatican are not part of the EU. However, they have signed monetary agreements so that their inhabitants can use the euro as their official currency. The four states can also issue a limited number of coins with their own designs.

The European Central Bank and the national central banks are analysing the advantages and disadvantages of issuing a digital euro in order to be prepared for its launch in case its issuance is considered appropriate.

A digital euro would be an electronic form of central bank money that all citizens and businesses could use – like banknotes, but in digital format – to make their daily payments quickly, easily and securely. It would be a supplement to cash, not a substitute. In any event, the Eurosystem will continue to issue cash.

You can find more information about the digital euro at the following link:

No. The period for exchanging pesetas for euros ended on 30 June 2021. As established by Law 46/1998 of December 17 1998 on the introduction of the euro, it is not possible to exchange peseta banknotes or coins after this date.

No. The Banco de España does not carry out foreign currency exchange transactions with individuals.

You can find more information on foreign currency exchange at the following link:

No. The Banco de España does not carry out gold purchase and sale transactions with individuals.

As of today, all euro notes and coins are legal tender in all euro area countries.

The national sides of the euro coins are different in each country in the euro area; therefore, your coin may come from another country. In addition, euro area countries can also issue €2 commemorative coins to represent important events or people. Each country can issue two €2 commemorative coins per year. As all of them are legal tender throughout the euro area, they can circulate in any euro area country.

Euro area countries also have the authority to issue collector coins, whose face value differs from that of normal circulating coins and are only legal tender in the country that issued them.

Description and images of the national sides of the euro coins:

Description and images of commemorative coins:

Every year the Banco de España puts into circulation silver collector coins, until the end of stocks, in all its  branches, at the same time as collaborating credit institutions and the Fábrica Nacional de Moneda y Timbre – Real Casa de la Moneda (FNMT-RCM). The Banco de España delivers these coins, without a box or a case, for the same face value.

For its part, the Fábrica Nacional de Moneda y Timbre – Real Casa de la Moneda (FNMT-RCM) sells special boxed issues of these silver coins, as well as other collector coins.

Collector coins are only legal tender in the issuing country. In addition, they are not intended for circulation, but for collecting, so they are not mandatorily accepted in payments.

You can exchange your euro collector coins for other euro coins or banknotes at the Banco de España. More informationOpens in new window

In order to reproduce any euro coin, you must request an authorisation from the Directorate General of the Treasury and Financial Policy.

Any query or request related to the reproduction of metallic coins can be made through the following link: Contact | Tesoro PúblicoOpens in new window. The query or request must be as detailed as possible and the "General inquiry about metallic currency" option in the "Department" field should be selected..

As a general rule, reproductions must conform to the provisions of Articles 9 and 10 of Law 10/1975 of 12 March 1975 on the Regulation of CoinageOpens in new window.

You can find out about the first steps in the design of both the common side and the Spanish national side of the coins, here.

You can find more information here.

You can find more information hereOpens in new window.

It is preferable not to bring the coins in blister packs or other types of packaging. You can simply bring them in bags, boxes or whatever form is most convenient for you.

In accordance with the provisions of Article 11 of Regulation (EC) 974/98, with the exception of the issuing authority and persons expressly designated by national legislation, no party shall be obliged to accept more than fifty coins for each payment.