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.
As cash has all these particular benefits, people are not willing to give up cash. Cash is set to remain indispensable for many years.
The introduction of euro banknotes and coins at the beginning of 2002 was a major milestone for the Austrian economy. Thanks to the meticulous preparations of the OeNB, the changeover was smooth and rapid even though it represented a logistical challenge of unprecedented proportions.
Cash logistics deals with all steps from banknote production to ATM withdrawals. Cash logistics experts are in charge of supplying the Austrian general public and business community with cash.
The euro is legal tender in 19 EU Member States (from January 1, 2014). The euro legacy currencies may still be exchanged for euro at the respective national central bank under certain conditions.
The OeNB Test Center tests whether banknote processing machines and banknote authentication devices meet the uniform standards of the ECB. Moreover, it cooperates with the Coins National Analysis Centre (CNAC) of Münze Österreich AG in testing coin processing machines. The OeNB Test Center cooperates closely with the machine manufacturers to steadily improve processing and authentication devices.