Most people in Switzerland will rarely have handled a CHF1,000 banknote, but there are a lot floating around: 45 million of them to be precise. Put together, their CHF45 billion of spending power represents more than 60% of the total amount of cash in circulation.
Large denomination notes are also seen as a perfect means for criminals to launder money or for citizens to dodge taxes. The European police agency Europol, EU finance ministers and now the European Central Bank, have recently made noises about pulling the €500 note, which has been described as the “currency of choice” for criminals.
In 2014, Singapore stopped producing any more $10,000 notes - the highest value bank note in the world – but said it would continue to honour existing notes indefinitely.
But Switzerland has no plans to follow suit. “The CHF1,000 note remains a useful tool for payment transactions and for storing value,” Swiss National Bank spokesman Walter Meier told swissinfo.ch.
In late 2014, the Swiss parliament approved new anti-money laundering rules that insist on due diligence checks on cash purchases in excess of CHF100,000.
But the fact is that the Swiss still love to use cash more so than many other countries.