Want to Get Tough on Crime? Scrap the $100 Bill

What's Hot


2 Types of Black Marks Might Vanish From Your Credit File SoonBorrow

6 Ways the Obamacare Overhaul Might Impact Your WalletInsurance

7 Dumb and Costly Moves Homebuyers MakeBorrow

This Free Software Brings Old Laptops Back to LifeMore

Obamacare Replacement Plan Gets ‘F’ Rating from Consumer ReportsFamily

Beware These 12 Common Money MistakesCredit & Debt

21 Restaurants Offering Free Food Right NowSaving Money

17 Ways to Have More Fun for Less MoneySave

House Hunters: Beware of These 6 Mortgage MistakesBorrow

30 Household Uses for Baby OilSave

25 Ways to Spend Less on FoodMore

Nearly Half of Heart-Related Deaths Linked to These 10 Foods and IngredientsFamily

5 Surprising Benefits of Exercising Outdoors in WinterFamily

10 Ways to Save When You’re Making Minimum WageSave

Boost Your Credit Score Fast With These 7 MovesCredit & Debt

7 Painless Ways to Pay Off Your Mortgage Years EarlierBorrow

The Most Sinful City in the U.S. Is … (Hint: It’s Not Vegas)Family

The True Cost of Bad CreditCredit & Debt

10 Companies With the Best 401(k) PlansGrow

This Scam Now Tops ID Theft as the No. 2 Consumer ComplaintFamily

6 Stores With Awesome Reward ProgramsFamily

6 Ways to Save More at Lowe’s and The Home DepotSave

6 Healthful Treats for Your DogFamily

New Study Ranks the Best States in the U.S.Family

Thousands of Millionaires Moving to 1 Country — and Leaving AnotherGrow

Strapped for College Costs? How to Get the Most From FAFSABorrow

6 Overlooked Ways to Save at Chick-fil-AFamily

Ask Stacy: What’s the Fastest Way to Pay Off My Mortgage?Borrow

Where to Sell Your Stuff for Top DollarAround The House

8 Ways to Get a Good Price on a Shiny New AutoCars

Ask Stacy: How Do I Start Over?Credit & Debt

Secret Cell Plans: Savings Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint Don’t Want You to Know AboutFamily

30 Awesome Things to Do in RetirementCollege

14 Super Smart Ways to Save on TravelSave

The Rich Prefer Modest Cars — Should You Join Them?Cars

You’ll Soon Pay More to Shop at CostcoSave

10 Ways to Save When Your Teen Starts DrivingFamily

Some top economists argue that high-denomination currency -- like the $100 bill and 500-euro notes -- facilitate drug trafficking, terrorism and other illicit activity. Here's why.

A former Treasury secretary is making a case for killing off the Benjamins.

Harvard economist Larry Summers, who was Treasury secretary under President Bill Clinton and a former economic adviser to President Barack Obama, says removing high-denomination notes such as the $100 bill and the 500-euro note would have a negligible impact on ordinary citizens and legal commerce, but it would make it more difficult for criminals — including tax cheats, drug traffickers and terrorists — to conduct their illicit activities.

“The fact that … in certain circles the 500-euro note is known as the ‘Bin Laden’ confirms the arguments against it,” Summers writes in a column in the Washington Post.

Summers is referring to a recently published paper by Peter Sands, a senior fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government and former head of the Standard Chartered Bank.

The paper states that getting rid of high-denomination bills would help deter tax evasion, financial crime, terrorism financing and corruption because big bills are criminals’ preferred payment method “given the anonymity and lack of transaction record they offer, and the relative ease with which they can be transported and moved.”

Let’s say a criminal needs to transport $1 million. If he’s using $100 bills, he could fit $1 million in one briefcase, which would weigh in at about 22 pounds, the Economic Times explains. If the $1 million is denominated in 500-euro notes, it could fit in a small sack weighing about 5 pounds.

But wielding that much cash gets a bit trickier if criminals are forced to use lower denomination bills. For example, $1 million in $20 bills would require four briefcases and weigh just over 110 pounds. Suddenly making a $1 million transfer or payment isn’t quite so easy.

Summers writes that although removing existing high-denomination bills from circulation may be a step too far at this point, the United States and the European Union could agree to stop printing them and “make the world a better place.”

According to this data from the Federal Reserve, the $100 bill is the second most common note in circulation in the United States, just behind the $1 bill.

In fact, $100 bills make up a whopping 80 percent of the $1.4 trillion in U.S. currency that’s in circulation today, CNN Money reports. Much of this American currency is held outside the country, CNN Money noted.

The European Central Bank is considering ditching the 500-euro note, Reuters reported this week.

“The 500 euro note is being viewed increasingly as an instrument for illegal activities,” ECB President Mario Draghi told lawmakers in the European Parliament.

What do you think about getting rid of the $100 bill? Share your comments below or on our Facebook page.

Stacy Johnson

It's not the usual blah, blah, blah

I know... every site you visit wants you to subscribe to their newsletter. But our news and advice is actually worth reading! For 25 years, I've been making people richer without making their eyes glaze over. You'll be glad you did. I guarantee it!

💰🗣📰

Read Next: Why Security Rules Are More Bewildering Than Ever for Air Travelers

Check Out Our Hottest Deals!

We're always adding new deals and coupons that'll save you big bucks. See the deals to the right and hundreds more in our Deals section.

Click here to explore 2,061 more deals!