Securing cash circulation

While non-cash payments are on the rise in Latvia, cash remains a popular choice for purchases. The data from public surveys suggest that the average person makes four payments in cash a week. This makes securing cash circulation one of the most important tasks of Latvijas Banka. Furthermore, cash payments are critical financial services, and the National Security Law stipulates that the availability of them must be ensured in the event of a national security threat.

The net issuance of euro banknotes by Latvijas Banka continued to decline and remained negative in 2023, while the net issuance of euro coins by Latvijas Banka increased. The total net issuance of euro banknotes and coins by Latvijas Banka was consequently –263.6 million euro at the end of 2023.

Chart 1. Net issuance of euro banknotes and coins by Latvijas Banka
(millions of euro)


The net issuance of euro banknotes by Latvijas Banka declined by 1.2% in volume in 2023 to 68.9 million banknotes. By the end of 2023, the 50-euro and 20-euro banknotes were the denominations most commonly issued by Latvijas Banka.

The net issuance of euro coins by Latvijas Banka increased meanwhile by 4.8% in volume, reaching 476.1 million coins at the end of December. Of the coins issued by Latvijas Banka, 1 cent and 2 cent coins accounted for the largest numbers of coins in circulation at the end of 2023.

Chart 2. Net issuance of euro banknotes by Latvijas Banka
(by nominal value; 2014–2023; volume; millions)


Chart 3. Net issuance of euro coins by Latvijas Banka
(by nominal value; 2014–2023; volume; millions)


The cash received from credit institutions was checked for fitness and authenticity by the automated cash processing systems of Latvijas Banka. They processed 141.1 million banknotes in 2023, which was an increase of 11.7% from 2022. Of the banknotes processed, 7.3% or 10.3 million were identified as unfit for circulation and were destroyed.

In 2023, Latvijas Banka continued to register and monitor cash handlers, which are merchants that engage in handling and recirculating euro banknotes and coins. By the end of 2023, 32 cash handlers had been registered in Latvia. Latvijas Banka conducted inspections by assessing how well their operations comply with the requirements in the laws and regulations governing cash handling. Six such inspections were carried out in 2023.

The withdrawal of lats banknotes and coins from circulation continued in 2023. The value of lats banknotes and coins withdrawn from circulation by Latvijas Banka over the year totalled 611.9 thousand lats, with 556.6 thousand lats in banknotes and 55.3 thousand lats in coins. Lats banknotes worth 39.1 million lats and coins worth 43.7 million lats were still in circulation at the end of 2023. At the end of December 2023, the 1.7 million 5 lats and 0.7 million 20 lats banknotes and the 149.3 million 1 santim and 89.4 million 2 santim coins accounted for the majority of the number of banknotes and coins in circulation.

Latvijas Banka, in cooperation with AS Citadele banka, AS SEB banka, Swedbank AS, Luminor Bank AS Latvian branch and the Finance Latvia Association, agreed at the end of 2023 to continue the operation of the Memorandum of Cooperation on Ensuring Access to Cash for Residents of Latvia with slightly revised conditions. The main aim of the Memorandum is to ensure that residents have convenient access to cash across the entire territory of Latvia, and more specifically:

  • to maintain the existing network of ATMs with a reduction of no more than 5% in the number of them until 1 January 2025;
  • to ensure that 99% of Latvia's population resides within a 20 kilometre straight-line distance from the nearest ATM when the ATM network is created;
  • to establish a minimum daily ATM availability of at least 12 hours in alignment with consumer interests.

To ensure the long-term availability of cash in the country, amendments to the Credit Institution Law have been drafted and submitted for further processing to the government and the Saeima. These amendments will clearly outline the responsibilities of banks for the siting and operation of ATMs.

Moreover, Latvijas Banka's regulations were amended to incorporate additional measures for ensuring access to cash in the event of a national threat and maintaining the stability of the financial system under critical circumstances. In light of this, Latvijas Banka now provides support by facilitating the delivery of banknotes to cash handling companies and by allowing the cash handlers authorised by credit institutions to refill their ATM cassettes at the premises of Latvijas Banka.

The law on rounding the total amount of cash payments has been drafted, and discussions with stakeholders have been initiated about how it could be implemented in Latvia for purchases made in cash.

The installation of coin deposit machines at the Riga Branch of Latvijas Banka has made it more convenient and more efficient for the public to exchange small-denomination coins. The public and companies deposited a total of 13 million coins into the cash deposit machines in 2023.

Execution of the functions of the National Analysis Centre and the Coin National Analysis Centre

Number and types of counterfeits

Latvijas Banka serves as the national authority tasked with protecting the euro against counterfeiting, and carrying out the functions of detecting and analysing counterfeit banknotes and coins. To help run these functions, the National Analysis Centre and the Coin National Analysis Centre have been established within the Cash Department of Latvijas Banka.

The main task of the National Analysis Centre is to identify, analyse, record and store all the counterfeit banknotes submitted to Latvijas Banka, thus ensuring that the required measures are implemented and reinforcing coordinated anti-counterfeiting efforts in the EU.

In 2023, Latvijas Banka identified 660 counterfeit euro banknotes and 593 counterfeit euro coins in circulation. The number of counterfeit banknotes increased by 14% year on year, while the number of counterfeit coins rose by 30% over the same period.

The 50-euro and 20-euro banknotes remain the denominations counterfeited most. Counterfeits of them account for over 65% of all the counterfeit euro banknotes in circulation.

Chart 4. Euro banknote counterfeits identified by Latvijas Banka


Number of euro banknote counterfeits identified by Latvijas Banka by nominal value

Year 5 € 10 € 20 € 50 € 100 € 200 € 500 € Total
2019 23 67 178 534 25 20 25 872
2020 13 103 234 437 39 1 9 836
2021 9 71 188 279 22 11 15 595
2022 8 25 217 276 33 7 14 580
2023 76 67 212 229 34 7 35 660
Total 129 333 1029 1755 153 46 98 3543

The majority of counterfeit euro coins identified were two-euro coins. Counterfeit two-euro coins exceeded 90% of all the counterfeit coins identified in 2023.

Chart 5. Euro coin counterfeits identified by Latvijas Banka


Number of euro coin counterfeits identified by Latvijas Banka by nominal valu

Year 50 cents 1 € 2 € Total
2019 49 43 266 358
2020 17 21 187 225
2021 10 20 176 206
2022 20 22 415 457
2023 13 36 544 593
Total 109 142 1588 1839

Although the number of counterfeits identified in circulation grew by 21% over the year, the overall extent of counterfeits in circulation in Latvia remains consistently at a low level.

Almost all current counterfeit euro banknotes can be easily detected. The counterfeit banknotes identified often exhibit noticeable irregularities in their size, colour shade or image elements.

Careful examination of the security features of the banknotes is therefore the best way for people to protect themselves from counterfeits and avoid losses from accepting counterfeit banknotes. So it is important for everyone who uses cash in their daily transactions to be familiar with the features and the design of banknotes and coins and their anti-counterfeiting elements.

Euro commemorative and collector coins issued by Latvijas Banka in 2023

Latvijas Banka issued six collector coins in 2023. They were "Stardust", issued on 11 May 2023; "Song Thrills", issued on 30 June 2023; "100 Years of Basketball in Latvia", issued on 31 October 2023; "The Golden Horses", issued on 15 November 2023; "Fan of Light Rays", issued on 29 November 2023; and "Riga Fashion", issued on 13 December 2023. There was also a two-euro commemorative coin "Sunflower for Ukraine" dedicated to Ukraine's fight for freedom that was issued into circulation from 30 May 2023 in rolls and gift packaging.

Latvijas Banka transferred a donation of 164 684.52 euro to the Ministry of Social Policy of Ukraine in support of Ukraine from the proceeds of the sales of the collector coin "For the Freedom of Ukraine" issued in December 2022 and the 2 euro commemorative coin "Sunflower for Ukraine" issued in May 2023. Mārtiņš Kazāks, Governor of Latvijas Banka, and Jānis Blūms, Head of the Cash Department of Latvijas Banka, symbolically presented the donation to Anatolii Kutsevol, Ambassador of Ukraine to Latvia. During the meeting, the representatives of Latvijas Banka assured the ambassador that Latvijas Banka would continue to support Ukraine and its people in its fight for freedom.


Latvijas Banka invites various Latvian artists to participate in coin design competitions and every coin is therefore a unique work of art.

The themes of the coins are chosen to promote Latvian cultural values and to highlight current topics in society.

Nearly 10 thousand people answered the annual public survey held on the website, and they voted for the collector coin "Vilhelms Purvītis" as Latvia's Coin of the Year 2022.

gm 2022 vilhelmspurvitis 430x300px e monetas

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