The Balearics received its first shipment of Euros yesterday with the countdown to E Day now well under way. Under tight security the money was escorted to Sa Nostra bank's headquarters just after ten o'clock and was handed over to the safe hands of the bank's director general, Pere Batle and Ramón Calafat who is head of the bank's single currency department. Sa Nostra expects to distribute just under 30 per cent of the Balearics' Euros, some 8.500 million pesetas worth in Euro coins and 8.500 million pesetas worth in the new Euro notes. The bulk of the new currency will start arriving in Palma at the end of November and early December and the bank intends to start distributing the Euros to its clients in the run up to Christmas. The bank in leaving distribution until as late as possible in order to reduce the chances of fraud and possible counterfeiting. Calafat said yesterday that by January 12, all of the bank's automatic cash machines will be stocked with Euros it's now time we start forgetting the peseta, he added. But while consumers have to start thinking Euro, the commercial sector can also brace itself for a sharp rise in the number of credit card transactions, especially when dealing with British visitors. Research conducted recently by Visa in the UK shows that many travellers to Europe this winter are planning to rely on their Visa payment cards when the new single European currency Euro notes and coins are introduced on January 1, 2002.
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