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50,000 won bills last 3 years longer than 10,000 won bills: BOK

South Korean banknotes have different lifespans, with the most valuable bills circulating for three more years on average than smaller bills, according to data from the Bank of Korea earlier this week.

The central bank said 50,000 won bills, Korea’s largest denomination, had an average lifetime of 162 months, while 10,000 won bills lasted only about 127 months.

The lifespan of a banknote is the period of time between the note’s issuance by the BOK and its return to the bank due to damage or destruction. 


The 50,000 won notes had much longer lifetimes, since they were more frequently stored at home or at the office and used as nest eggs, according to officials.

“We analyzed the last year’s cash usage of economic units. The result showed that 79.4 percent of local entities retain some 50,000 won bills as reserve funds,” the bank said in a statement.

In contrast, 1,000 won and 5,000 won bills had shorter lifespans due to their frequent use -- 49 months for a 5,000 won bill and 53 months for a 1,000 won bill, on average.

By Jie Ye-eun (