<p>CU Times Correspondent-At-Large VIENNA, Va. – While a new version of the Euro currency in several European countries went into effect on New Year's day, members at military-affiliated credit unions probably won't be affected by the change since most deal in U.S. dollars. The newest Euro note replaces legal tender in Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain, but consumers can use respective currencies until the end of February. On Jan. 1, 50 billion coins and 14.5 billion new banknotes began to circulate throughout the continent. Meanwhile, many members at Navy Federal Credit Union are stationed overseas and served by seven branches in Europe but the new Euro will not affect cash transactions, said Loren Moeller, Navy's public relations manager. "Our ATMs dispense American money, and we deal strictly with U.S. dollars," Moeller said. Pentagon Federal Credit Union has two branches in Turkey and near Portugal but as with Navy, all ATMs and branches dispense American currency, said Jonathan Deitch, manager of strategic member research. Foreign money exchanges are not available at any of the sites, he added. "The two branches near Europe don't deal with cash transactions," Deitch said. "Tellers are there to help members open accounts and to help solve any transaction problems they may have." Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma serves mostly civilians here and while some members are stationed overseas, there are no physical branches, said Matthew Stratton, vice president of marketing. The transfer of the Euro went relatively smooth the first few days with only one report of a forged 50 note in Germany, a few expected ATM shortages and reports of two robberies of the new notes in Greece and Ireland. The Euro was actually introduced in 1999, when national currencies were pegged to it at fixed rates and ceased to trade independently, but the paper money first became available on Jan. 1. National currencies will continue to circulate side by side with old currencies until the end of February. Roughly 80% of the 200,000 ATMs in the region were dispensing Euros at press time, with nearly all cash machines converted in Germany, Austria and the Netherlands, according to the European Central Bank. Bank officials say the new Euro notes have security features that include a hologram foil strip, a printed image, which changes when viewed from different angles, a watermark and a security thread. The notes are available in denominations of 5 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 Euros and coins of 2, 5,10, 20 and 50. Consumers will be able to use the Euros in most places where they would have been able to use their previous national currency, bank officials say. Some shops outside of the 12 countries, particularly those in major tourist areas and airports, will take them, but they will be under no legal obligation to do so. -</p> <p>[email protected]</p>

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