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Acceptance as means of payment

Euro banknotes are legal tender throughout the euro area, which means that they must be accepted as means of payment at their nominal value (i.e. the value displayed on the banknote) across all countries that have adopted the single currency. Outside the euro area, the euro is not mandatory legal tender.

In Portugal there are legal restrictions on cash payments (Law No 92/2017 of 22 August 2017):

  • Receiving or making any payment in cash of amounts equal to or greater than €3,000 is forbidden (or the equivalent to that in foreign currency). This limit increases to €10,000 for payments by non-resident natural persons provided that they do not act as entrepreneurs or merchants.
  • For persons subject to corporate income tax and to personal income tax that are or should be required to keep accounts, payments equal to or greater than €1,000 or its equivalent in foreign currency should be made through a means of payment allowing for their recipient’s identification.
  • Paying taxes in cash for amounts greater than €500 is forbidden.

These restrictions do not apply to financial entities that receive deposits, provide payment services, issue electronic money, or carry out manual exchange transactions. They also do not apply to payments resulting from judicial decisions or orders and specific situations provided for in a special law.

This information does not replace the consultation of the legislation governing these matters.

In May 2016 the Governing Council of the ECB decided to stop producing the €500 banknote, taking into account concerns that this banknote could facilitate illicit activities. However, €500 banknotes will remain legal tender and may still be used to settle debts or make payments.