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COUNTDOWN TO GREAT CURRENCY REVOLUTION: 3 DAYS TO GO: ANSWERS TO THE CASH QUESTIONS.

Byline: MEL HUNTER

ARE you confused by the single European currency? Does the euro elude you? Then take a look at our handy guide to the big switch-over.

Q. What is the euro?

A. The euro is a single currency which will replace the currencies of 12 of the 15 states in the European Union on January 1.

Q. I'm British. Why do I need to know about the euro?

A. The change to the euro will affect anyone who travels into any of the 12 Eurozone countries for business or holidays.

People in Britain will also be able to use euros in this country when they return from their travels. Almost a third of British retailers will accept the euro.

Q. Which countries are switching to the euro?

A. Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain.

Q. Will I still be able to use my old currency?

A. There will be a change-over period where you will be able to use the old currency and the euro.

The Dutch guilder will stop on January 28, the Irish punt will be taken out of service on February 9, and the French franc will go on February 17.

The rest will wave goodbye to their currencies on February 28.

Q. But what about the foreign money I've got stashed at home?

A. While most banks are changing notes until the end of February, coins cannot be changed.

But almost all high street banks are collecting coins for charity - so give them your old coins.

Q. What does the euro look like?

A. There are seven new banknotes - e5, e10, e20, e50, e100, e200 and e500 - and eight new coins worth one and two euros, and one, two, five, 10, 20 and 50 cents.

Each euro coin has a side common to all the countries, featuring a map of the EU with the stars of the European flag.

The other side will be specific to the country where it is issued and will feature a national landmark or symbol.

All coins can be used throughout the Eurozone, regardless of where they're from.

Q. How much is the euro worth?

A. One euro is worth around 63p.

Q. Will I still have to pay commission when I change my pounds for euros?

A. Yes. We will have to change money as before.

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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Dec 29, 2001
Words:407
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