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!
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.
For goods and services, the limit for cash payments is EUR 3,000. This restriction does not apply to payments between consumers.
According to Belgian law, special regulations include the following:
- The purchase price for the acquisition of real estate may not be paid in cash.
- If copper cables are sold to a entrepreneur, the entrepreneur may not pay the purchase price in cash. Not even if the seller is a consumer.
- When buying and selling scrap metal and items containing valuable materials, cash payments between entrepreneurs are prohibited.
- If a consumer sells such valuable materials to an entrepreneur, the payment may only be made in cash up to an amount of 500 euros. The entrepreneur must also verify the identity of the selling consumer.
These restrictions do not apply if the execution of the contract takes place under the supervision of a bailiff.
Violations of the above restrictions are punishable by fines ranging from 250 euros to 225,000 euros.
Amounts of 10,000 levs (approx. 5,108 euros) or more may not be paid in cash. This also applies if this limit is only reached through several related payments.
Violations can be punished with a fine of up to 25 percent of the sum concerned (for entrepreneurs up to 50 percent).
For payments in another currency, the limit of 10,000 levs is set according to the exchange rate of the Bulgarian National Bank on the day of payment.
Cash payments are possible up to and including 270,000 Czech crowns (approx. € 10,509) per day.
Violations of this rule are punishable by a fine of up to 500,000 kroner for consumers and up to 5,000,000 kroner for companies.
No limit on cash payments between private individuals.
As soon as an entrepreneur is involved, however, there is in fact a maximum limit.
Because in Danish law there are, among other things, the following special regulations:
- Traders are not allowed to accept cash payments of 20,000 Danish kroner (approx. 2689 euros) or more. This does not apply to banks and other financial service providers.
- Traders are obliged to accept cash up to 20,000 kroner between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. (in areas with a high crime rate until 8 p.m.). The obligation applies when traders accept certain types of payment, especially card payment.
- The use of 500-euro notes as well as 25-Øre coins is prohibited.
- When paying an amount in coins, a maximum of 25 coins per transaction may be used. The maximum amount that may be paid exclusively in coins is DK 962.50 (approx. 129 euros).
- For services or purchases of goods related to services, cash payment is not recommended for amounts of DK 8,000 (approx. 1075 euros) or more. The reason: if the trader does not pay the income tax and VAT on the purchase price, the consumer can be held jointly responsible. The buyer can exempt himself from this liability by reporting the purchase to the competent tax office (within 14 days after payment, at the latest one month after receipt of the invoice).
No limit on cash payments.
Cash can be rejected from 50 coins or banknotes, regardless of the value.
The Estonian central bank as well as credit institutions, on the other hand, must accept cash / banknotes without any restriction.
There is no legal limit for cash payments.
However, the trader is also not legally obliged to always accept cash payments. Such procedures must be clearly communicated, for example in the form of signs at the entrance of a shop, e.g. refusing to accept more than 50 coins or a large banknote.
Read more about paying cash in Finland.
The limits for cash payments are as follows:
- The cash limit is 1,000 euros for taxpayers resident in France.
- For non-resident taxpayers acting as consumers, the limit increases to an amount of 10,000 euros (up to and including 15,000 euros in special cases, e.g. payments to banks).
- Payments in connection with property purchases that are notarised may be paid in cash up to a maximum of 3,000 euros.
- Cash payments between private individuals, for example when buying a car, are not limited. The issuing of an invoice is mandatory for amounts over 1,500 euros in order to be able to prove payment.
- Taxes can be paid in cash up to a maximum of 300 euros.
Traders are obliged to accept cash, otherwise a fine of max. 150 euros may be imposed.
Traders may refuse to accept damaged banknotes. The same applies if there are safety concerns (for example, if a payment is made at night). If there is any doubt about the authenticity of the banknote, the merchant may ask you for your identity and the origin of the banknote.
Traders are allowed to refuse payments with more than 50 coins, as well as banknotes that significantly exceed the amount to be paid.
More information on our article: Means of payment in France
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.
The maximum limit for cash payments is 500 euros.
Higher amounts must be paid by bank transfer, bank card or cheque.
There is no cash limit for car purchases. However, a change in the law is already being discussed in Greece.
Consumers can pay in cash without restriction.
A limit of 1.5 million Hungarian HUF (approx. 41,695 euros) per month applies to legal entities, business associations and individuals who are subject to VAT.
According to the law, there is no limit for cash payments.
In practice, however, it may well happen that traders only accept cash up to a certain amount.
The maximum amount that can be paid in cash is 7,200 euros.
Violations are sanctioned with fines amounting to 15 percent of the sum concerned.
Land purchase contracts may generally not be carried out with cash.
Certain items and goods may not be paid for in cash for an amount of 10,000 euros or more. This includes antiques, real estate, jewelry, precious metals, pearls, precious stones, automobiles, boats, and works of art.
Violations will be punished with a fine of at least 40 percent of the amount in question.
To the Maltese legal text (in English).
For private individuals, there is currently no limit for cash payments.
However, there is a legislative proposal to prohibit cash payments from an amount of € 3,000 or more.
There is also an obligation to report irregular payments over € 2,000. This applies to professions in the banking sector, freelancers, insurance companies, casinos and others.
In Norway there is a right to pay with cash.
There is no limit for cash payments between individuals.
However, as soon as an entrepreneur is involved, there is in fact a maximum limit.
The Norwegian law sets the following restrictions:
- When paying for items with a value of up to and including 40,000 Norwegian kroner (approx. 3841 euros), the seller may not accept a cash payment. This also applies if the amount is paid in several installments.
- When purchasing services or goods related to services, cash payments are not recommended if the amount exceeds 10,000 Norwegian kroner (approx. € 958). The reason: if the service provider does not pay income tax, VAT and social security contributions, the consumer can be held responsible.
- When paying an amount in cash, no more than 25 coins per unit must be accepted.
For payments between traders, the limit for cash payments is PLN 15,000 (approx. EUR 3267).
There are no restrictions for private individuals.
Payments of a value of 3,000 euros or more may not be made in cash.
The Portuguese law also contains the following separate regulations:
- For a person liable to income or corporate tax in Portugal, cash payments of 1,000 euros or more are not permitted.
- If the payment is made by a consumer who does not have a place of residence in Portugal, cash payments are only prohibited from an amount of 10,000 euros or more.
- Taxes may only be paid in cash up to and including 500 euros.
Payments to entrepreneurs may only be made in cash as long as they do not exceed 5,000 Romanian lei (approx. € 1016) per day.
For the delivery of goods and services, this limit is 10,000 lei (approx. € 2033) per day.
Payments between consumers, e.g. for the purchase of a good, service or for rent, may only be made in cash as long as the amount is below 50,000 lei (approx. €10,165) per day.
Cash payments of up to 5000 euros are possible for transactions between traders and for a purchase between a consumer and a trader.
For private individuals, the maximum limit is 15,000 euros.
Payments to traders or from traders may no longer be made in cash from an amount of 1,000 euros or more.
For a consumer who does not have a tax residence in Spain, the ban on cash only applies to an amount of 10,000 euros or more.
If this rule is violated, the penalty is 25 percent of the sum concerned.
There is no limit for paying with cash.
However, a trader can refuse to accept cash. This must then be made known clearly and in good time (for example by means of a corresponding sign in front of a shop).
Healthcare services must always accept cash payments.
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 €10,000. Exclusions apply.
Good to know: In England and Wales, you pay with English pound notes. However, in Scotland and Northern Ireland, the English pound notes may not be accepted. Likewise, the Scottish and Northern Irish pound notes may not be accepted in shops in England and Wales.
With regard to the change, there are unlimited payments of £ 5, £ 2 and £ 1. Coins with a face value of 50p, 25p and 20p can pay amounts up to £ 10, with 10p and 5p up to £ 5 and with 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.
Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Innovation Council and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Executive Agency (EISMEA). Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.