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How Much Is a $500 Bill Worth Today?

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, statements or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

500 dollar bill

If you went to the bank today to withdraw $500 in cash, you’d be handed five $100 bills or perhaps 25 crisp $20 bills. But there was a time when much larger bills were in circulation, and the bank teller would have handed you just one $500 bill. In fact, The Department of the Treasury’s Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) used to print paper notes for several large monetary denominations, including $500, $1,000, $5,000, and $10,000.

The BEP would even eventually print a $100,000 Gold Certificate note, but these were only provided to Federal Reserve Banks and never put into circulation for public use. Today, the $100 is the largest monetary denomination printed and placed into circulation, which means that the possession of a $500 bill could mean you are holding something rare, and possibly of great value.

A brief history of the $500 bill

19th century: The first $500 note was printed by the BEP during the Civil War, and was issued well into the 1960s. Millions of $500 bills were printed over the note’s lifetime according to AntiqueMoney.com, a website run by paper money expert and long-time collector, Manning Garrett.

20th century: While the $500 bill could be found in the pockets of the very wealthy, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s website states the bill was mostly used by banks for large payment transfers. Over time, the advancement of banking technology began to steer the higher-denomination paper currencies, including the $500 note, towards obsolescence, and the BEP printed the final $500 notes in 1945.

Discontinued in 1969: The note then stayed in circulation until the Federal Reserve inevitably discontinued the note on July 14, 1969, removing it from public circulation altogether. Since it’s discontinuation, the $500 bill has become a sought after item for currency collectors, with the value of some of these elusive bills reaching up to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

What a $500 bill is worth today

The possession of a $500 note means you are holding a rare piece of American history — and potentially even a substantial source of financial gain.

The worth of a $500 bill has grown since its years of public circulation. A money collector need only search online to find other collectors selling $500 bills for thousands of dollars on eBay.
However, determining the exact worth of a $500 note can be tricky, as there are a few key factors, such as rarity and the note’s physical condition need to be taken into consideration.

According to AntiqueMoney, most $500 bills are worth somewhere between $650 to $850, as long as they are in decent condition. But there are some $500 bills that are worth significantly more. The $500 gold certificate note printed in 1882 is typically considered to be more common, but depending on the seal type and signature on the bill, it’s possible for the note to be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The $500 gold certificate note that was printed by the BEP in 1922 was the last large size $500 bill printed in the US. Most of these bills are now worth around $4,000 each, and if the bill is in especially great condition, its value can reach into the tens of thousands. The $500 gold certificate that was later printed in 1928 is even more valuable as it was printed during a year that gold certificates were issued in the country for the last time. With only 420,000 of these $500 notes printed, they are now worth anywhere from $2,000 to $15,000 each.

There is quite a variety of $500 notes that were printed during their time in circulation. With so many different variables at play when considering their current worth, the general rule of thumb is to always reach out to a qualified collector for an educated appraisal.

How many $500 bills are left?

With millions of $500 bills printed before their discontinuation, it is difficult to determine how many are still left today. Federal Reserve Banks are required to destroy any $500 notes (as well as any other notes that have been discontinued from public circulation) they receive, and it’s unclear how many $500 bills are being destroying on a regular basis. But with the increased monetary value of the bill over the years, consider yourself lucky to encounter one in everyday life.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Ben Moore
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Ben Moore is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Ben here

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Banking

Checking vs. Savings Account: Understanding Which to Choose

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, statements or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

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There are many decisions to make when you decide to open a new bank account, ranging from which financial institution to work with, to whether you want features like an intuitive mobile app. But perhaps the most important decision to begin with is whether you would like to open a checking account or a savings account. Here, we spell out the differences between a checking vs. savings account.

Checking vs. savings account

Checking accounts are intended for everyday use. There’s generally no limit to how many times you can access your money through debit card purchases, withdrawals and transfers each month, but generally have a lower or zero interest rate.

Savings accounts, on the other hand, tend to have a higher interest rate and are intended for minimal access to your funds and instead, saving up for future goals or purchases. Savings accounts come with a federal law limit known as Regulation D, or Reg D, which allows up to six certain savings transfers or withdrawals each month. Many consumers find that having both a checking and savings account can be quite complementary.

Here’s a breakdown of the benefits and drawbacks of each type of account.

Checking AccountsSavings Accounts
Main purpose
Designed for regular spending, covering day-to-day expenses and monthly bills, depositing money and transferring money to or from other accountsDesigned for minimal access and earning interest on your deposits. Withdrawals are usually reserved for big purchases or payments
Withdrawal limits
No limit*A federal rule known as Reg D limits six transactions per month on certain transfers or withdrawals from your savings account
Interest earned
Rates average 0.19% APY as of Jan. 2019 but you can get much higher rates if you shop around. Online banks typically have higher rates.Rates average 0.26% APY as of Jan. 2019 but you can get much higher if you shop around. Online banks typically have higher rates.
Minimum balance requirements
May require a minimum balance or incur a monthly maintenance fee. Most online banks offer checking accounts with little to no minimum balances.This typically ranges from $100 minimum balance to around $2,500. Some accounts require a minimum balance as high as $10,000, or the APY will drop.
Common features
Convenient access; ATM/debit card; checks.Interest rates are typically higher than those of a checking account, checks, debit card.
Fees
Monthly fees can typically range from $0 to $50; Overdraft; Some accounts will charge if you fall below a minimum balance, make too many transfers per month, withdrawal from third-party ATM machines; Debit card usage feesSome accounts will charge if you fall below a minimum balance.
FDIC insured?
Most checking accounts are insured by the FDIC for up to $250,000 per account.Most savings accounts are insured by the FDIC for up to $250,000 per account
*Check the terms & conditions of your account for any limitations the financial institution may impose.

Checking account features

Checking accounts usually accrue little or no interest, depending on the bank, but are convenient for every day access to your funds.

ProsCons
Ease of access. With ATM cards, online banking and mobile apps, checking accounts can authorize deposits and withdrawals as often as you need.

Insured by the FDIC. You can find comfort in knowing that most checking accounts are insured by the FDIC for up to $250,000 per account.
Fees. Checking accounts can come with a number of fees, such as overdraft fees, ATM withdrawal fees from third-parties, fees for falling below a minimum balance and sometimes debit usage fees.

Lower interest. Checking accounts typically have zero or very little interest.

Checking accounts with high rates

These are no fee checking accounts that also earn interest.

Institution
APY
Minimum Balance to Earn APY
Checking Account + Protected Goals Account* from Simple
Simple

2.02%

$2,000

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Personal Account from nbkc bank
nbkc bank

1.01%

$0

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on nbkc bank’s secure website

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Savings account features

Savings accounts are used to hold money that you don’t need right away and can earn interest over time, yet the funds are still easy to access if you need to make a big purchase or payment.

ProsCons
Money can grow faster. Savings accounts generally provide higher interest rates than checking accounts, so you can earn more money over time.

FDIC Insured. Just like checking accounts, most savings accounts are also FDIC insured for up to $250,000 per account.

Good for short-term savings goals.
Minimum balance. Savings accounts may have a minimum balance requirement. If the account falls below this requirement, the user is usually charged with a fee.

Withdrawal limitations. Due to a federal rule known as Reg D, you’re limited to six transactions per month on certain transfers or withdrawals from your savings account.

Savings accounts with high rates

These high-yield savings accounts consistently offer high rates.

Institution
APY
Minimum Balance to Earn APY
High Yield Savings from Synchrony Bank
Synchrony Bank

2.25%

$0

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on Synchrony Bank’s secure website

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Online Savings Account from Barclays
Barclays

2.20%

$0

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Checking vs savings account: Fees

Fees for checking and savings accounts can vary depending on the financial institution and type of account. Fees just to open a checking account can range from $0 to $50. Overdraft fees can range from about $24 to $34.

Checking vs savings account: Earning interest

In many cases, you’ll earn interest with a checking account, but there are some checking accounts where you can earn interest of up to around 2.02%. You can compare checking accounts at MagnifyMoney. Savings accounts are more likely to provide interest rates, of up to nearly 2.25%. For a comparison of savings accounts, read our latest roundup of the best online savings accounts.

The bottom line: Which is right for me?

Selecting a checking vs. savings account depends on your individual goals and objectives. In many cases, it’s helpful to have both types of accounts. For minimal interest but convenience and frequent access to cash, a checking account is the way to go. Savings accounts are better suited for saving over the long term. Having both types of accounts can be quite complementary to paying everyday expenses and also keeping an emergency fund or meeting long-term savings goals.

Now, consumers often decide to open a checking and savings account at the same bank. This makes it easy to manage money and transfer between accounts quickly. Sometimes, banks will waive a monthly fee if you link your checking and savings account. The drawback to this is that you might not find the best checking and the best savings account interest rates and terms by using the same bank. A high-yield online savings account, for example, will often provide the highest interest rate, but you might find better branch access and other benefits from a checking account elsewhere.

In short, it’s best to do your homework and shop around for the checking and savings accounts with the best interest rates and lowest bank fees. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution, so it pays to find the combination that best suits your objectives and lifestyle.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Renee Morad
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Renee Morad is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Renee here

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Banking

What Is a Patriot Bond and What Can You Do With It?

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, statements or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

Savings bonds are intrinsically tied to American ideals, serving as a way for American citizens to grow and save their money while supporting the country.

They were originally conceived by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to help finance World War II. The Patriot Bond was created after the devastating attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

What is a Patriot Bond?

A Patriot Bond is a special paper Series EE savings bond created in direct response to the terrorist attacks of September 11. Sold from December 2001 through December 2011, the bond provided a tangible way for Americans to support the country’s reaction to the attacks, as proceeds from the bonds went to an anti-terrorism government fund. A Patriot Bond can be identified by the words “Patriot Bond” printed at the top, in between the owner’s Social Security number and the date the bond was issued.

While the bond may have a unique name, it functions like a standard EE paper savings bond. The bond could be purchased for between $25 and $10,000. It was government-backed, making it a low-risk option for Americans to grow their money.

Each bond was assigned a fixed interest rate that guaranteed the bond would grow in value over time. And just like Series EE savings bonds today, Patriot Bonds could be purchased for a variety of uses, such as saving for retirement, growing a college fund or simply to give as a gift. The Patriot Bond was discontinued in 2012 when the Treasury switched to electronic bonds.

Can I redeem a Patriot Bond if I have one today?

The short answer is yes. While EE bonds typically cannot be redeemed until after 12 months has passed from the date of purchase, the last Patriot Bond was printed well beyond that time frame, making it eligible for redemption. But there are some things to consider before heading to your bank to redeem it.

Ken Tumin, founder of DepositAccounts — which, like MagnifyMoney, is owned by LendingTree — said there are a few conditions you need be aware of before redeeming. Patriot Bonds mature in the same fashion as an EE savings bond, which means they earn interest every year for 30 years. So the longer you have the bond, the more it will be worth. Once the bond hits the 30-year mark, the bond stops accruing interest and reaches maturity, making it the perfect time to redeem.

Tumin said Patriot Bonds, as well as all Series EE bonds, are guaranteed to double in value after 20 years, but you might not need to wait so long. “If someone got a Patriot Bond in 2002, interest rates were much higher back then, so [the bond] could have doubled already,” he said.

If your bond has not yet fully matured, it may be in your best interest to convert it to an electronic bond, which will be helpful if you lose or damage a paper one. TreasuryDirect.gov — part of the  U.S. Department of the Treasury Bureau of the Fiscal Service — has a feature called SmartExchange that can convert your paper bonds into electronic bonds. Electronic bonds are much more efficient when compared to paper bonds. They can be redeemed anytime through the Treasury’s website, as well as transferred easily to another owner.

How do I redeem my bond, and can I take it all?

If you are interested in redeeming your Patriot Bond, you can head to almost any bank to exchange it for cash. In general, paper bonds come with no limitations on how much of the bond’s value you can redeem at once, but some banks may have their own restrictions.

A Patriot Bond can also be redeemed through the Treasury Retail Securities Services. To redeem this way, you must have a certifying officer from a local bank certify your signature on the back of the bond. Once certified, you must then mail the bonds, your Social Security number and the Treasury’s direct deposit form to Treasury Retail Securities Services.

I have a Series I savings bond. Do I cash this in differently?

While Patriot Bonds were printed as Series EE savings bonds, you may be in the possession of a Series I bond. The value of a Series I bond is determined differently since part of the bond’s interest rate is based on inflation (thus the “I” in the name).

Tumin said the bond is first assigned a fixed interest rate that stays with the bond over its lifetime. Then, the bond is given an inflation rate. The inflation rate changes every six months in accordance with the inflation rate, which the Treasury announces on the first business day every May and November. The fixed rate and inflation rates are combined when determining the overall value of the bond.

Just like the EE bonds, an I bond can be cashed 12 months after the date of purchase. The bond also reaches full value maturity after 30 years.

How can I find out how much my Patriot Bond is worth?

Determining the worth of your Patriot Bond is pretty easy.

TreasuryDirect has a simple calculator you can use to find out the value of the bond. You can also use the calendar to see the expected value of the bond in the years to come, which will help determine when you would like to redeem the bond.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Ben Moore
Ben Moore |

Ben Moore is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Ben here

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