Information on banknotes and coins
This section provides extensive information on euro banknotes and coins and on the cash handling tasks and activities of the Oesterreichische Nationalbank (OeNB).
The number and overall value of euro banknotes in circulation have been rising continuously since the introduction of euro cash in 2002. As a share of all cashless and cash payments in the euro area, cash takes pride of place; in terms of the value of cash transactions among all transactions, its share is far smaller. Overall, though, the popularity of cash has been waning in recent decades in favor of debit and credit cards. This trend is likely to continue.
Cash has a number of special features among means of payment:
- Cash is the quickest, most widely accepted payment form for low-value payments: cash will buy just about anything, anywhere, anytime.
- Cash is also the cheapest payment means for low-value payments: The total cost of using cash to pay small amounts is lower than the total cost of using electronic means of payment.
- Everyone can use cash, and cash is most important for people who do not have a bank account, have limited access to an account or who cannot use electronic payments.
- Cash payments are easy to keep track of.
- Cash is a store of value and a means of exchange at the same time.
- Cash is a comparatively fraud- and counterfeit-proof.
It is always advisable to keep an adequate amount of cash on hand for an emergency. How much cash depends, of course, on your individual needs. The Oesterreichische Nationalbank recommends holding cash worth about twice your weekly budget for grocery shopping (or up to EUR 100 per household member). Choose smaller banknotes and keep them in a safe place. The cash you have set aside will help you meet your payment obligations should electronic payment options not be available.
As cash has all these particular benefits, people are not willing to give up cash. Cash is set to remain indispensable for many years.