New versions of the 100- and 200-euro banknotes have updated anti-counterfeiting features and a slimmer size that should make them easier to fit into wallets and purses.
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The new notes, shown off Monday by the European Central Bank, are now the same width as the 50-euro note so that they will be less likely to stick out and become worn. The notes also have an improved "satellite" hologram that shows small euro symbols moving around the number when the bill is held up and tilted.
ECB executive board member Yves Mersch said at the unveiling that more than a million cash machines would need to be adjusted before the new notes go into circulation May 28 in the 19 countries that use the shared currency.
He said that European citizens "remain attached" to the use of cash despite increasing acceptance of electronic means of payment. He described banknotes as "the most inclusive payment method" since they do not require special equipment and are equally available to the elderly, handicapped and minors.