Cash payment limitations

Many consumers use cash. However there are limitations on cash payments within the EU and entering or leaving a country with cash may be subject to customs declarations. Check before you travel!

Update: January 2018

ECCs advise consumers to carefully check the methods of payment accepted by traders and to ensure that transactions are as secure as possible. Some traders might ask for a deposit and accept a deposit in cash, others might ask for a debit or credit card payment and others still might accept cheques, money transfers or postal orders. Consumer credit might also be used widely.

In some countries debit cards may be an option, but as they often have limits on the amount that can be spent, consumers must check with their banks prior to purchase and, if necessary, increase the amount for a short period.

Remember: A trader in the EU is not obligated to accept more than 50 metal coins for the same payment.

You are entering or leaving a country with cash. Do you know if you have a duty to declare this sum of money? Check the requirements for each EU Member state!

No limit

No limit in the referring legislation however restricted use in practice.

Cash payment limited

Austria

No limit.

Belgium

Since January 2014, the limit is €3,000. This applies not only for the purchase of goods, but also for services, like  the services of a real estate agent, ICT ‐ consultant, etc. From January 2014, all payments in cash for the purchase of a real estate will be prohibited. The notary or real estate agent and some other categories of sellers have the obligation to inform the authorities if the law is not respected. Fines on offenders from €250 to €225,000 can be imposed by the Belgian authorities.

Bulgaria

Limited to 9999 leva (approximately €5,110). If the transaction exceeds this limit, then the consumer should pay through a bank. The same applies also in any case where the purchase price is equal to or over 10000 leva, even when the consumer pays not the total price but a part of it ‐ then all parts of the price should go through a bank payment.

If the payment is in another currency then the limit of 9999 leva is calculated based on the exchange rate of the Bulgarian National Bank on the date of the payment.

Croatia

Cash payment limitation : €15,000 

Cyprus

No limit.

Czech Republic

The limit for cash payments is 350 000 CZK (about €14,000) in one day. As for the coins, the limit is 50 pieces. Banknotes must be accepted without limitation, those that are damaged in a non-standard manner may be refused however.

Denmark

No limit on cash payments for the purchase of goods. A legislative proposal not yet adopted may allow a seller not to accept cash payments anymore.

However in cases where a purchase of services is paid in cash exceeding 10.000 DKK (including VAT) – approx. 1340 EUR, a consumer will be jointly and severally responsible with the trader if the trader does  not pay taxes and VAT of the purchase price. If a consumer cannot pay digitally he can be released from the joint responsibility if he reports the amount of the purchase to the Taxation Authority.

Estonia

The Central Bank of Estonia and all credit institutions operating in Estonia are obliged to accept coins and banknotes without limits.

All other persons have obligation to accept up to 50 coins irrespective of their worth and bankbotes without limits.

Finland

There is no provision in the legislation which would force anyone to always accept cash as payment. A company is not obligated to receive a large amount of coins (more than 50 metal coins for the same payment) or an exceptionally large bank note. If a company accepts cash payments, but sets limits to acceptable payment instruments, limits must be explained clearly before making the sale.

France

People who are French residents for tax purposes are allowed to make cash purchases of up to the value of €1,000 from traders. For non-residents, the limit is €15,000. As long as the amounts to be paid are under these limits, the trader must accept cash.

Cash payments at local government finance offices are limited to €300. These include payments of VAT, income tax, local taxes, fees (e.g. audiovisual licence fee), fines, as well as hospital bills or rents paid to public institutions.

Above these limits, the consumer needs to use another payment method such as cheques or bank cards. There are no restrictions on cash payments between consumers (such as for cars), but if they exceed €1,500, an invoice is required to prove that the payment was made.

A trader can however refuse to accept more than 50 coins. In principle, the consumer must pay the exact amount, so the trader can refuse high-denomination bank notes if the price is much lower than the value of the bank note. A trader can also refuse damaged or stained bank notes, especially if the security features cannot be seen properly.

Relevant legislation
Article D112 ‐3 of the code monétaire et financier and Article 1840 J of the code général des impôts ‐ sanction: up to 5 % of the amount paid if it exceeds the authorised limit. Both parties are responsible for the payment of the fine.

Germany

No limit on cash payments for the purchase of goods.

Consumers who want to pay amounts which are higher than 10. 000 Euro in cash, have to show their ID card. And the trader has to document the surname, first name, place of birth, date of birth, the home address and the nationality.

Greece

Cash payments (including VAT) for the purchase of products and services are permissible up to €1,500. Beyond that limit, payments should be done via bank accounts, cheques or credit/debit card.

Hungary

No limit for consumers. Limit of HUF 1,5 million (about 5000 EUR/month) for legal persons, unincorporated business associations and VAT registered private persons that are obliged to open a bank account.

Iceland

No limit.

Ireland

No limit in the referring legislation however restricted use in practice.

Italy

Since January 1st 2016, cash payments are only allowed up to an amount of €2,999.99. For higher amounts, it is necessary to use debit cards, credit cards, non-transferable cheques or bank transfers.

Fines range from €3,000 to 40 % of the amount paid, in case of payment of more than €50,000 the fine is at least €15,000. 

Good to know: payments for rental fees (holiday homes included) cannot be payed cash regardless of the amount!

Latvia

No limit.

Lithuania

No limit.

Luxembourg

No limit.

Malta

No limit.

Netherlands

No limit. However, some institutions  and professionals have the duty to report any unusual transaction (including the identity and other personal details of the person involved). More information : http://en.fiu-nederland.nl/content/wwft

Norway

No limit on cash payments for the purchase of goods.

However in cases where a purchase of services from self-employed persons is paid in cash exceeding 10.000 NOK – approx. €1,078, a consumer will be jointly and severally responsible with the trader if the trader does not pay taxes and VAT of the purchase price.

Checks are rarely accepted.

Poland

Cash payment limit in Poland in March 2015 is €15,000 (approx. 62.220 PLN).

Portugal

The cash payments of goods and services between consumers and traders are limited by the law. Article 63-C of the decree law no. 398/98, of December, 12 (General Tax Law), amended by the law no. 20/2012, of May, 14 (amending 2012 State Budget) requires that the payment of invoices or similar documents on the amount of more than €1,000 should be made to trader's bank account by a mean that allows the identification of the receiver (bank transfer, bank debit or by a nominative check).

Romania

Since 9th May this year, cash payments from individual persons to traders are limited to 10000 RON/person/day (€2,260 ).

Slovenia

No limit.

Slovakia

Cash payments have been regulated in Slovakia from the 1st January when act no. 394/2012 Z.z. on restrictions of the cash payments entered into force. The act set restrictions for the cash payments:

  • B2B, C2B and B2C payments up to 5000 EUR
  • natural person who is acting for purposes which are outside of his or her trade, business up to 15 000 EUR by payments higher than aforementioned limits can be processed only cashless transactions.

Referring legislation

Act no. 394/2012 Z.z. on restrictions of the cash payments (since 1st january 2013)

Spain

Since 19th November 2012, the limit is €2,500 (for Spain residents) and €15,000 (for non residents). If the amount is higher than these (in each case), the payment should be done by transfer bank. The fine for failing to carry out this precept could be about 25% of the total transferred amount. The law applies for payments between consumers and traders, whether the payments done between consumers are not concerned by the law.

Sweden

No limits in the legislation. However, the accepted payment instruments may be limited on contractual basis. A trader is not obliged to accept cash as payment, if the limitation is stated clearly before making the sale.

Money Laundering Act (Lag (2009:62) om åtgärder mot penningtvätt och finansiering av terrorism) obliges several categories of business to request identification of their customers, verify the origin of the money and report any suspected money laundering to the Financial Police. The companies that must do this include banks, exchange offices, life insurance companies, securities traders, law firms, casinos, real estate agents, accountants, tax consultants and the companies that sell against cash payment of €15,000. Companies that do not follow these rules can be fined.

 

 

United Kingdom

The consumers can make cash payments without any limits.The traders, however, need to register themselves with tax authorities as 'High Value Dealers' if accepting cash payments in excess of €15,000. Exclusions apply.

Good to know: In England and Wales the £5, £10, £20 and £50 notes are legal tender for payment of any amount. However, they are not legal tender in Scotland and Northern Ireland. As for the coins: £5, £2, £1 without any limit ; 50p, 25p and 20p (up to £10), 10p and 5p (up to £5) ; 2p and 1p (up to 20p).


We thank the European Consumer Centers for the provided information. Utmost care has been dedicated to their composition. However, the ECC France does not guarantee the accuracy of the information.

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