Frequently Asked Questions. 

Is a shop or retail outlet obliged to accept high denomination banknotes in payment for goods?

All denominations of euro banknotes are legal tender.  However, a retail outlet has discretion as to the particular denomination of notes that it will accept in exchange for goods, especially in relation to high denomination notes.

If a retail outlet does not accept high denomination banknotes because of fear of counterfeit banknotes, the Central Bank of Ireland can offer training to their staff in the recognition of the security features of genuine banknotes.

In addition to concerns about counterfeits, some retail outlets may have difficulties in providing enough change if they accept large denomination banknotes.

Must shops or retail outlets display a notice stating which denominations will not be accepted?

Some retail outlets state in advance, by way of notice, that they do not accept large denomination banknotes.  However, even if a notice is not in place a shop can refuse to accept large denomination banknotes.

Does the Central Bank of Ireland have a role in persuading shops or retail outlets to accept high denomination banknotes? 

The Central Bank of Ireland has no regulatory or supervisory powers in relation to shops or retail outlets.  As contract law governs the sale of goods, retail outlets are free to decide the means of payment they are prepared to accept for the sale of goods.

May I refuse to hand over a note that a bank tells me is a counterfeit? 

No.  Financial institutions are obliged by law to retain suspected counterfeit banknotes and to submit them to the Central Bank of Ireland for verification.  A receipt for the note will be provided to the customer but no value can be given at the time of lodgement.  In the event that the Central Bank of Ireland deems the note to be genuine, value will then be given to the customer.  No value is given for a counterfeit note.

Can I refuse to accept a note that is in poor condition? 

Yes.  If you are offered a poor quality note in change you are entitled to ask for a replacement, within reason.  Refusal by the public of poor quality notes will eventually improve the overall quality of the banknotes in circulation in Ireland.

What is the maximum number of euro coins that a shop is obliged to accept in any single transaction? 

The following is an extract from the Economic and Monetary Union Act, 1998:

“10(1)   No person, other than the Central Bank of Ireland and such persons as may be designated by the Minister by order, shall be obliged to accept more than 50 coins denominated in euro or in cent in any single transaction.”


Can I get €500 notes directly from the Central Bank of Ireland? 

No, the Central Bank of Ireland only deals with wholesale customers in relation to the distribution of currency. Members of the public should be able to get (or order) specific denominations from their local financial institution.