Avoid carrying the 500 Euro note if you can. Nobody was willing to accept it as a form of payment. At one money exchange place in Rome, they tried to tell us ours was fake and that they could not give it back to us. Ultimately we were able to cash it out in a clothing shop by making some purchases. It was a pain in the butt.
That note would not come from an ATM, why would one have one? That is akin to carrying $500 bill (actually higher) in the US which does not exist. Even $100 bills in the US can be problematic to use.
How did you happen to have it anyway? A 500 euro note is about as useful when travelling as a 500 dollar bill would be in the USA, if such a bill exists.
The reason for this is if it is a fake the business who accepts it has taken a big hit. They just aren't worth the risk to any business.
Also a widely held assumption, based on some truth,is that the main users of 500 euro notes are criminals, especially drugs dealers. Another reason for a business to be wary of accepting them!
Generally it is not worth your while having notes larger than a 100 euro and in the UK you can experience difficulties spending a £50
Actually, I DID get a €500 note from a bank ATM in Austria -- and was not able to spend it. Finally took it in to another bank which was able to run it through a machine to verify that it was not counterfeit; they were happy to break it into smaller notes. Lesson learned! Withdraw an odd amount like €490 or find an ATM that allows you to specify which bills you want.
"At one money exchange place in Rome, they tried to tell us ours was fake and that they could not give it back to us."
How did you get it back?
Since for most of my trips to Europe, I've had a daily limit of 500 USD, which was less than 500 euro, I've never had that problem. Last trip I raised my daily limit to $750, but I still didn't get a 500 euro note. Might have gotten 100s. Can't remember.
It's hard enough to use a 50 euro note without spending 49 euro - I can't imagine trying to actually spend a 500 note. My first reaction would be to find a bank and see if they would break it down.
And the money exchange place? - one more reason to avoid those places like the plague. Talk about trying to scam you...
Douglas, why is this a scam? €500 is a perfectly valid and legal banknote. Switzerland has a 1000 Frank note, which is worth more.
The few times I have either €500 or 1000 Franks in my possession. I have been able to spend them. Cash machines in Switzerland dispense 100 and 200 Franks as standard.
Chris, I see that Swiss people use routinely large bills including the Sfr 1000 ones, but in the euro zone the 100 euro is the largest practical use bill. In my recent Austria vacation I cannot even remember how many times I saw signs that 200 and 500 bills were not accepted. Almost all supermarkets and petrol stations had such signs.
Inicidentally is very hard to change €500 notes in the UK as bank wholesalers will not deal in it. Prior to 2010 it was estimated that 90+% of €500 notes in the UK were in the hands of criminal activity.
Douglas, why is this a scam? €500 is a perfectly valid and legal banknote.
They were trying to scam them because they took the 500 euro note, claimed it was fake, then refused to give it back. When in reality it was perfectly legal, non-counterfeit note. The exchange employee came very close to stealing 500 euro from them.
If it was counterfeit, then they are required by law to take it so it can be turned in. Either it was real or it wasn't. Every bank, money exchange, and today most stores have fake money detectors. If a bill is fake, they would show you why. The story that they couldn't give it back, but then did is an odd one.
Shopping in a large dept. store is your best bet for changing large bills. just not first thing in the morning when they open.
Do please tell us how you got this large bill?
Maybe she got it as change when she used a 1000€ note for a small purchase.
I can understand why most retailers don't want to deal with them. Unless you are buying that much, it can wipe out the merchant's entire change bank for the day.
I have never received one from an ATM even when requesting a 1000 Euro withdrawal. I have gotten 100's though. Even my bank in the US will not provide anything larger than a 100 Euro bill when you buy Euros from them. They will accept 200 and 500 Euro notes if you bring them back to exchange for USD, but they have a 10 day wait before they will pay you.
We got the bill (actually a few of them) from LA Currency in Hollywood prior to leaving for Europe. The place in Rome was on Via del Corso.
"We got the bill (actually a few of them) from LA Currency in Hollywood"
That might explain the counterfeit (was it?) bill. They probably don't have the means to check euro notes they "buy" in exchange for US dollars. One good reason to us bank ATMs in Europe for your cash.
I don't believe it was a counterfeit bill. We used it at a clothing shop. The girl did scan the bill three times before accepting it. The other notes we had no problems with.