Even if cryptocurrencies and contactless payments  are becoming more common, bringing home a holiday souvenir paid for in cash can cost you!

You had a crush on a painting in Italy during your holiday? Be careful if you plan to pay for it in cash: there are limits on cash payments in some European countries.

While 15 EU countries (plus Norway and the UK) have opted not to limit the amount of cash payments (Luxembourg, Austria, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Germany, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Sweden), while others have chosen to limit this possibility both in terms of the amount of the cash payment and the way in which it is made (Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Greece, Spain, France, Croatia, Italy, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania and Slovakia).

Please find below the details of the study of the European Consumer Centres Network:

Germany

No cash limit.

Consumers who wish to pay more than €10,000 in cash in Germany must show identification. The seller must be able to prove the surname, first name, date and place of birth, address and nationality of the buyer.

Austria

No limit.

Belgium

For goods and services, the cash limit is €3000. This restriction does not apply between consumers.

According to Belgian law:

– The price for the acquisition of real estate cannot be paid in cash.

– If copper cables are sold to a contractor, the contractor cannot pay in cash, even if the seller is a consumer.

– Cash payments between contractors for scrap metal and items containing valuable materials are prohibited.

– If a consumer sells such materials to a contractor, the cash payment is limited to The contractor 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. Any violation of these restrictions is punishable by a fine of between €250 and €225,000.

Bulgaria

The limit for cash payments is 10,000 Lev = approx. €5,108.

Amounts above 10,000 Lev must be paid by bank transfer, bank card, even if the amount is paid in instalments.

For payments in another currency, the limit of 10,000 lev is set according to the exchange rate of the Bulgarian National Bank on the day of payment.

Cyprus

No limit.

Croatia

Cash payment limited to €15,000.

Denmark

There is no limit on cash payments between individuals.

Merchants are not allowed to accept cash payments of more than DKK 20 000 (approx. € 2689). This does not apply to banks and other financial service providers.

The use of €500 banknotes and €25 coins is prohibited. When paying an amount in coins, a maximum of 25 coins per transaction may be used. The maximum amount that can be paid exclusively in coins is DKK 962.50 (approximately EUR 129).

For services, payment in cash is not recommended above an amount of DK 8,000 (about EUR 1,075). The reason: if the trader does not pay income tax and VAT on the purchase price, the consumer can be held liable. The buyer can avoid this liability by declaring the purchase to the relevant tax office (within 14 days of payment, at the latest one month after receipt of the invoice).

Spain

Cash limit to traders: €1,000.

For a consumer who does not have tax residence in Spain, the limit is €10,000.

In case of violation of this rule, the penalty is 25% of the sum concerned.

Estonia

No limit up to 50 coins or banknotes, regardless of their value. The Central Bank of Estonia and credit institutions must accept without limit the coins/notes handed over.

Finland

No legal limit.

However, a trader may refuse a cash payment, for example, if there are more than 50 coins or a high value note, provided this is stated before the sale.

France

The limit for cash payments is €1000 (for French tax residents and professionals) and €15,000 for non-French tax residents.

Cash payments between individuals (e.g. car purchases) are not limited, but an invoice is required above €1,500 to prove the payments. If you want to buy a car in France from a private individual, for example. However, be aware of the limits on the amount of cash you can carry within the European Union.

In principle, it is up to the consumer to make up the difference (Article L112-5 of the monetary and financial code).

A trader is obliged to accept cash payments (Article R 642-3 of the Criminal Code) but is not obliged to accept a payment consisting of more than 50 coins or a high-value banknote if it greatly exceeds the price to be paid.

Be aware that a shopkeeper may refuse a torn banknote. They may also ask you for your identity if they have doubts about the authenticity or origin of the money.

Cash payments at treasury counters are limited to €300. This applies in particular to payments of income tax, local taxes, taxes (e.g. audiovisual licence fee), fines, as well as hospital bills or rents paid to public institutions. Beyond that, payment must be made by electronic means (online payment, monthly direct debit or direct debit on due date).

Greece

The limit is €500 (except for the purchase of a vehicle). Beyond that, payment by bank transfer, bank card or cheque.

Hungary

No limit for consumers. However, limit of HUF 1.5 million/month (approx. €4,200) for legal persons, business associations and individuals subject to the VAT system.

Ireland

There is no limit in the law. However, there are restrictions in practice.

Iceland

No limit.

Italy

As part of the fight against money laundering and tax fraud, cash payments are limited to €1,000 since 1 January 2022. For any payment above this limit, it is therefore necessary to use a bank card, a cheque or to make a bank transfer.

In case of fraud, the penalty will be at least €1,000.

Latvia

The maximum amount that can be paid in cash is €7 200.

Infringements are sanctioned by fines amounting to 15% of the sum concerned.

Lithuania

There is a limit of €3000.

Luxembourg

No limit.

Malta

Certain items and goods cannot be paid for in cash for an amount equal to or greater than €10,000. These include antiques, real estate, jewellery, precious metals, pearls, precious stones, cars, boats and works of art.

In the case of offences, the fines are at least 40% of the amount in question.

Norway

There is no limit on payments between individuals.

But you cannot pay an item worth more than NOK 40 000 (about ‘3841) to a professional. For services, the limit for cash payments is NOK 10 000 (about EUR 958). The reason: if the service provider does not pay income tax, VAT and social security contributions, the consumer can be held responsible.

Netherlands

There are no limits on cash payments.

However, there is an obligation to report suspicious transactions above €2000 (http://en.fiu-nederland.nl/content/wwft): this applies to professionals such as banks, liberal professions, insurance companies, casinos, etc.

Poland

For payments between merchants, the limit is PLN 15 000 (about EUR 3 267).

There are no restrictions for individuals.

Portugal

Payments of EUR 3 000 or more cannot be made in cash.

For a person subject to income or corporation tax in Portugal, cash payments of EUR 1 000 or more are not allowed.

If the payment is made by a consumer who is not domiciled in Portugal, cash payments are only prohibited for amounts of 10,000 euros or more.

Taxes can only be paid in cash up to and including EUR 500.

Romania

Payments to businesses may only be made in cash up to 5 000 Romanian lei (approximately €1 016) per day.

For the delivery of goods and services, this limit is 10 000 lei (about €2033) per day.

Payments between consumers, for example for the purchase of goods, services or rent, can be made in cash up to 50 000 lei (about €10 165) per day.

Czech Republic

270,000 CZK/day (approximately €10,500/day).

United Kingdom

No limit.

Merchants, however, must register with the tax authorities as “High Value Dealers” if they accept cash payments in excess of €10,000. However, there are exceptions.

Good to know: In England and Wales, you pay with English pound notes. However, in Scotland and Northern Ireland, English pound notes may not be accepted. Similarly, Scottish and Northern Irish pound notes may not be accepted in shops in England and Wales.

For 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.

Slovakia

Cash payments up to €5000 are possible for transactions between traders and for a purchase between a consumer and a trader.

For individuals, the maximum limit is €15,000.

Slovenia

Merchants can only accept cash payments up to and including €5,000.

Sweden

There is no limit for cash payments.

However, a trader can refuse cash. In this case, the trader must clearly inform the consumers and in good time (e.g. by displaying a notice in the shop).

Health services should always accept cash payments.


We would like to thank the European Consumer Centres for the information they have provided. It has been prepared with the utmost care. However, the ECC Luxembourg cannot certify the accuracy of this information.