The Americas

Venezuelans scramble as most-used banknote becomes void

  • A customer who tried to make a purchase with 100-bolivar notes leaves a shop with a message posted in Spanish: "not accepting the 100 bank note ", in Caracas, Venezuela, Thursday, Dec. 15, 2016. Today is latest deadline for Venezuelan's to exchange 100-bolivar bank notes, which the government is removing from circulation. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

    A customer who tried to make a purchase with 100-bolivar notes leaves a shop with a message posted in Spanish: "not accepting the 100 bank note ", in Caracas, Venezuela, Thursday, Dec. 15, 2016. Today is latest deadline for Venezuelan's to exchange 100-bolivar bank notes, which the government is removing from circulation. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)  (The Associated Press)

  • A vendor waits for customers, in Caracas, Venezuela, Thursday, Dec. 15, 2016. Today is latest deadline for Venezuelan's to exchange 100-bolivar bank notes, which the government is removing from circulation. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

    A vendor waits for customers, in Caracas, Venezuela, Thursday, Dec. 15, 2016. Today is latest deadline for Venezuelan's to exchange 100-bolivar bank notes, which the government is removing from circulation. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)  (The Associated Press)

  • A customer who tried to make a purchase with 100-bolivar notes leaves a shop with a message posted in Spanish: "not accepting the 100 bank note ", in Caracas, Venezuela, Thursday, Dec. 15, 2016. Today is latest deadline for Venezuelan's to exchange 100-bolivar bank notes, which the government is removing from circulation. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

    A customer who tried to make a purchase with 100-bolivar notes leaves a shop with a message posted in Spanish: "not accepting the 100 bank note ", in Caracas, Venezuela, Thursday, Dec. 15, 2016. Today is latest deadline for Venezuelan's to exchange 100-bolivar bank notes, which the government is removing from circulation. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)  (The Associated Press)

Venezuela has become a country without cash.

On Friday, the country's most widely-used banknote went out of circulation. But the higher-denomination bills that are supposed to replace the 100-bolivar note have not arrived at banks or ATMs. People are relying on credit cards and bank transfers, or avoiding making purchases altogether.

President Nicolas Maduro made a surprise announcement Sunday that the 100-bolivar note would go out of circulation by the week's end. He also temporarily closed the border with Colombia, and then on Thursday night extended the border closure for another 72 hours. He says the closure is needed to thwart smugglers who hoard bolivars in Colombia.

Maduro held up a new 500 bolivar bill on his television show Thursday, but on Friday, ATMs were still issuing the now-worthless 100-bolivar notes.