The number of 500 euro notes in circulation has fallen to its lowest level since August 2005 and the 100 euro note is at its lowest since the euro was introduced - now why doesn´t that surprise me! I wonder whether that means the black market trade is also suffering in the current economic crisis! Many stores do not even accept such high denomination notes anyway - with notices by the tills stating so, in main due to the number of counterfeits that circulate. By contrast, the 50 euro note is at its highest level.
Last year Spain bought in a law making it illegal to make a payment in cash for anything over the value of 2500 euros in a bid to combat tax evasion. Cash payments are generally referred to as "black money" here in Spain and pretty widespread. It is not at all unusual to hear of stories of people selling property and turning up at the notary with pockets stuffed with cash, normally the said 500 euro note as part of the transaction - this was so much more difficult when the peseta was in existence as you needed carrier bags to carry enough of them!
|ATM´s widely available
When changing your sterling to euros endeavour to ask for smaller denominations, sticking with fifty and smaller - that way you will have no problems when paying for goods and services. Most places take debit and credit cards here and you can always make ATM withdrawals if needed. But do not carry too much cash around with you - do not make yourself a target for the pickpockets. It happens across the world, especially high tourist destinations and Benidorm is no different.