Banknotes in circulation


A major aspect in the work of a central bank worldwide is to issue the national banknotes, ensuring that banknotes serve as a means of payment that is safe and enjoys public’s trust.

The Bank of Albania maintains public’s confidence in the national currency, through guaranteeing the quality of banknotes and coins in circulation and meeting in a safe and efficient manner the need of the economy for money, both in value and structure.

Pursuant to this mission, the Bank of Albania ensures on an ongoing basis the quality of banknotes in circulation. Guaranteeing the quality of banknotes is aimed firstly at preserving their integrity, in relation with the public that uses them, and upholding a dignified image of the Bank of Albania and the Albanian State.

In this framework, the Bank of Albania launched in 2019 the new improved series of the Albanian banknotes, legal tender.

The new series of Lek banknotes consists of six denominations:  200, 500, 1000, 2000, 5000 and the new denomination 10000 Lekë. This series was introduced gradually to the public over several years, 2019 - 2022.

Timeline for putting in circulation

  • the 200 Lekë and 5000 Lekë banknotes came into circulation on 30 September 2019;
  • the 10000 Lekë and 1000 Lekë banknotes came into circulation on 30 June 2021;
  • the 500 Lekë and 2000 Lekë banknotes came into circulation on 17 January 2022.

Why we need new series of banknotes?

The banknotes include security features, which offer better protection against counterfeiting and maintain public’s confidence and credibility in the currency.

The improvement of the banknote series to enhance security features and improve design elements is a common practice among central banks, which is generally implemented every 15-20 years.

All the denominations in the current series of the Albanian banknotes and coins, excluding the 2000 Lekë, were approved in 1995 and entered circulation in 1996. Meanwhile, the 2000 Lekë note was issued in 2008. The 100 Lekë note ceased to be legal tender at the end of 2011.

While banknote counterfeiting has been low during these years, the Bank of Albania always strives to keep ahead of counterfeiting and be at the cutting edge of banknote security features, making them easier to be authenticate and harder to counterfeit.

Over the past 20 years, technology has been constantly improving, regarding both security features to be checked by the public without the need of special devices, and those recognised by handling and counting devices.

What will happen with the old banknotes?

The existing banknotes, all denominations, will continue to circulate alongside with the newly introduced banknotes. They will continue to be legal tender and serve as a means of payment.

The Bank of Albania shall inform the public in due time on the dates when each of the existing denominations, 200, 500, 1000, 2000 and 5000 Lekë - will cease to be legal tender. After ceasing to be legal tender, the existing banknotes will still retain their value and may be exchanged at face value with new ones.

Theme and design elements

The theme of the existing series has been retained, as it is commonly accepted by the public at large.

This theme evokes milestones in the history of the nation, social, economic and political highlights, and distinguished personalities with outstanding contributions for Albania. The portraits of these personalities are combined in the banknotes with motives related to the life, work, place and era in which they lived.

Meanwhile, the design of the new series represents the evolution and improvement of the overall design and of specific elements embodied in to them. The main underlying idea for their appearance was to create a contemporary banknotes series, whose design strikes a balance between innovation and tradition.

Reliable and safe

Banknotes of the new series are produced with state-of-the art technology and security features which make the banknotes even harder to counterfeit.

Tougher and longer-lasting

The new banknote series is based on cutting edge technology and contains innovative elements. For the 200 Lekë note, the material is more durable, and helps keep the banknote secure and clean.