There are seven denominations of euro banknotes, €500, €200, €100, €50, €20, €10 and €5 which embody the shared theme of ‘Ages and styles of Europe’. The banknotes represent the architectural styles of seven periods of European cultural history, including classic, Roman and gothic. The graphic representations do not depict existing architectural works.

Second Series of Euro Banknotes

The European Central Bank (ECB) and the national central banks (NCBs) of the Eurosystem introduced a second series of euro banknotes called the ‘Europa’ series.  These new banknotes are being introduced gradually over several years, starting with the €5 banknote in May 2013.  More information on the second series and specifically on the new €5 banknote is available at and The new €50 banknote will be issued on 4 April 2017.

The Euro Cash Academy tells you about euro banknotes and their security features. Please click on the image below.

Quality and Security

The Central Bank of Ireland is responsible for ensuring that there are sufficient banknotes which are genuine and of high quality issued into circulation to meet public demand. We aim to have high quality banknotes in circulation to help maintain confidence in our currency by making it more difficult for counterfeits to be passed. The Central Bank of Ireland maintains the quality of banknotes in circulation by withdrawing damaged banknotes and replacing them with new banknotes. In January 2011 new Eurosystem rules which dealt with the recirculation of banknotes were introduced in Ireland.

Decision ECB/2010/14 on the authenticity and fitness checking and recirculation of euro banknotes became applicable on 1 January 2011 (previously referred to as the Banknote Recycling Framework). The Decision lays down the procedures referred to in Article 6(1) of Regulation (EC) No 1338/2001 which professional cash handlers have to comply when checking euro banknotes for authenticity and fitness. It has been amended by Decision ECB/2012/19 of 7 September 2012 to extend its scope to the authenticity and fitness checking and recirculation of new series of euro banknotes and to clarify a few requirements.

Decision ECB/2010/14 ensures that credit institutions and cash handlers only recirculate euro banknotes if they have been checked for both fitness and authenticity. Banknotes can be checked either (i) by a type of banknote handling machine which has been tested by a Eurosystem NCB; or (ii) by trained staff. If banknotes are being recirculated via an ATM (automated teller machine) they must be checked by a banknote handling machine.

Various security features and anti-counterfeiting measures have been incorporated into euro banknotes. To help you recognise a genuine banknote at a glance the ‘feel, look, tilt’ process has been developed. See the links the below for further details on this process and on security features.

Monitoring changes to the Quality of Banknotes in Circulation in Ireland

In late 2012 the Central Bank of Ireland conducted a sampling exercise which evaluated the effectiveness of the implementation of the Decision in Ireland. A significant improvement in the quality of banknotes in circulation was found when compared to the previous exercise carried out in 2006. From 2006 to 2012 the quality of the banknotes in circulation in Ireland improved by 47% in the sample area. The link below describes the quality of banknotes in circulation in 2012.

Quality of Banknotes in Circulation 2012

The Central Bank provides training to professional cash handlers on authentication and fitness sorting of banknotes and also conducts nationwide compliance checks of professional cash handlers with the Decision. To ensure public confidence in our currency, banknotes must be genuine and of high quality. The public also have a role to play in maintaining the quality of banknotes. Further improvements on the quality of banknotes in circulation could be gained through instilling small changes in public behaviours in respect of the treatment and handling of banknotes, such as not crumpling banknotes and the use of a wallet.

The ECB has launched a permanent online survey to seek the opinions of members of the public on the quality of euro banknotes, please click on the following link to express your views.

Banknote Quality Survey

Banknote Signatures

Each euro banknote bears the signature of either Willem F. Duisenberg, Jean-Claude Trichet or Mario Draghi – the first, second and third Presidents of the European Central Bank respectively. These banknotes are all equally valid.