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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

U.S. Names March Date For Debut of $100 Bill

After months of public speculation, the new, high-tech $100 bills will make their long-awaited debut March 25, the U.S. Treasury Department announced Monday.

In an official statement U.S. Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin and U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said the notes -- featuring a larger and off-center portrait of Benjamin Franklin and a number of cosmetic and security measures intended to foil counterfeiters -- should appear in mass circulation by the end of March or early April.

"This change will ensure that U.S. currency remains the most trusted and respected in the world," Rubin said. "The U.S. government is committed to maintaining the integrity and security of its currency."

A Russian Central Bank spokeswoman said Monday that she could not say how soon the new bills will appear in Russia.

The largest holder of dollars outside the United States, Russia has been the target of a vast U.S. Treasury Department education campaign to calm jitters about the new bills. Many Russians have felt burned by past experiences where their savings in Soviet rubles became worthless almost overnight when new denominations were introduced.

Central Bank officials have estimated that between $15 billion and $20 billion -- the vast majority in $100 notes -- are circulating within Russia.

Despite reassurances that the old $100 bills will remain valid, the plans for the new notes have sparked concerns among Russians that bank currency exchange points will try to charge excessive commissions on transactions involving the redesigned $100 bills. The Central Bank recently agreed with a group of leading Russian banks to limit commissions to a maximum 2 percent charge.

The new bills will first go to the 37 U.S. federal depositaries which distribute minted currency to U.S. banks. The banks will then fulfill orders for the currency from foreign depository banks.

Some depositaries could receive the dollars as soon as March 26, the statement said.