A 100 Swiss franc banknote rests on top of lower denomination notes in an arranged photograph in Bern, Switzerland. (Photographer: Stefan Wermuth/Bloomberg)

One of the World’s Most Valuable Banknotes Just Got a Face Lift

(Bloomberg) -- The Swiss National Bank has revamped its most controversial banknote, with state-of-the-art security features and a theme of communication.

The new 1,000 franc ($1,000) note -- which goes into circulation on March 13 -- shows a handshake and Switzerland’s parliament.

Switzerland’s highest-denomination bill has raised eyebrows among the likes of former U.S. Treasury Secretary Larry Summers, who argue big banknotes aid illegal enterprise. The unveiling of the new note also comes just weeks after the European Central Bank stopped the issuance of its top denomination 500-euro ($566) note in a crack down on crime. Yet the SNB says its big bills regularly get used for commonplace payments.

One of the World’s Most Valuable Banknotes Just Got a Face Lift

“There’s no indication that these risks are larger,” for high denomination notes, SNB Vice President Fritz Zurbruegg said at a press conference in Zurich on Tuesday. “In Switzerland the 1,000 franc banknote is used as a means of payments.”

Here are some facts about Switzerland’s banknotes and its citizens’ love of cash.

While in countries like Sweden, where bank branches have stopped handling cash and even church parishes have begun taking donations via mobile app, in Switzerland cash is still popular, with the amount in circulation actually increasing.

One of the World’s Most Valuable Banknotes Just Got a Face Lift

Switzerland’s banknotes are produced by Zurich-based printer Orell Fuessli, which is celebrating its 500th anniversary this year. Issuance of bills with a face value of 1,000 francs started with the SNB’s fourth banknote series in 1938.

A questionnaire conducted in 2017 found cash is still frequently used, despite the advent of apps and other electronic, for settling both large and small bills.

One of the World’s Most Valuable Banknotes Just Got a Face Lift

About 40 percent of those surveyed said they’d held a 1,000 franc note in the last one or two years. For 200 franc bills, the figure rose to more than 60 percent.

One of the World’s Most Valuable Banknotes Just Got a Face Lift

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