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The Eurosystem cash strategy

We are committed to cash and to ensuring that paying with central bank money is always an option.

Euro banknotes and coins are legal tender in the euro area. Cash is an important part of your freedom to choose how to pay and essential for the financial inclusion of all groups in society. 

Our cash strategy aims to ensure that euro cash remains widely available, accessible and accepted as both a means of payment and a store of value. It will also remain innovative, secure and environmentally friendly.

We safeguard the future of cash in several ways.


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We ensure the availability of euro cash

We make sure that euro banknotes and coins are available at all times. The national central banks offer cash services free of charge and work to make the way money moves through the economy as cost efficient as possible. We also take into account needs for euro cash outside the euro area.

Learn more about cash logistics 

We support access to cash services for everyone

People and businesses must be able to access their money. As such, we support banks in providing adequate cash services, such as free cash withdrawals or withdrawals without excessive fees. Retailers can also offer alternative cash services like cashback or limited cash withdrawals.

Learn more about access to cash

We make sure that cash is accepted everywhere

Most people in the euro area consider it important to be able to pay in cash. Ensuring that cash is accepted everywhere is therefore essential. It gives people the freedom to choose how to pay, without disadvantaging those who do not have access to electronic payments.

Learn more about the acceptance of cash

We develop innovative and secure euro banknotes

Euro banknotes are protected by the latest technologies to make them highly resistant to counterfeiting and easy to authenticate by the public and professional cash handlers. We ensure the high quality of euro banknotes and are working on new designs for a future series.

Learn more about future banknotes

We keep banknotes safe and sustainable

We make sure our banknotes are safe to produce and use. For instance, we research and test the potential impact of banknote production and circulation on public health and the environment. We also study how to make banknotes as sustainable as possible.

Learn more about the environmental footprint of euro banknotes

Dive deeper

The role of cash

Cash is the most frequently used means of payment in stores in the euro area and can be used by everyone. Cash offers important functions and benefits.

Functions and benefits of cash 

Payment attitudes of consumers

To get a better understanding of how consumers are changing their payment habits, and to what extent, the ECB investigates the payment attitudes and behaviours of euro area citizens. 

Study on the payment attitudes of consumers 

The paradox of banknotes

In recent years, the demand for euro banknotes has constantly increased while the use of banknotes for retail transactions seems to have decreased, a phenomenon referred to as the ‘“paradox of banknotes”.

ECB Economic Bulletin, Issue 2/2021 

Frequently asked questions

Will cash disappear in the near future? Are retailers allowed to reject cash as a means of payment? Do national central banks have competences over banknotes and coins?

Find answers to questions on banknotes and cash in general

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