Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Euro scare story

The European Central Bank (ECB) has dismissed a warning from a UK travel company that holidaymakers should be careful of Greek and Spanish banknotes.

The Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) distanced itself from the warning as well.

Dial A Flight, which organises travel for 450,000 people a year, told its customers in a blog that "anyone holding Greek Euros may find themselves out of pocket" if Greece were to leave the eurozone and stamp, or endorse, its euro notes to identify them as a new currency.

The company suggests there is a risk that other eurozone members might not accept the notes -- whether or not they had been stamped -- and that Spain might be the next to suffer.

Notes printed in different countries are identifiable from a letter at the front of the serial number: Y in the case of Greece and V for Spain.

But a spokesman for the ECB said "euro banknotes are legal tender in all euro nations" and that they remained legal tender "wherever they are printed".

ABTA said that while no one knows what would happen if Greece left the euro, "A euro is a euro - it doesn't matter where it is printed".

After I started making enquiries, Dial A Flight removed the blog from its website.

There will be lots of scare stories as Greece's problems persist, but if anyone wants to know what the symbols on euro banknotes mean, the ECB provides a handy guide.

UPDATE - and here's what the British Bankers Association says...

"There is no difference between Euros from different countries. They are worth the same from one end of the Eurozone to the other, regardless of where they are issued. The Euro is a single currency and worth the same whether French, German, Greek or Spanish."

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