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The dos and don’ts of mutilated currency

Each year, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) handles more than 22,000 claims and redeems mutilated currency valued at more than $35 million. People with day-to-day cash handling responsibilities are likely to come across mutilated currency at their institutions. While the Federal Reserve does not accept deposits of mutilated currency, it’s important to know what to do with it.

What is mutilated currency?

Mutilated currency refers to damaged notes where one-half or less of the original note remains or notes in such poor condition that their value is questionable. A trained expert at the BEP’s Mutilated Currency Division may need to examine each note to determine its value. Examples include notes that are burned by fire, chemicals or explosives; petrified or deteriorated after burying; or damaged due to animal or insect activity. For photos of mutilated currency, visit the Mutilated Currency Redemption (Off-site) page of the BEP website.

What to do

Send mutilated currency directly to the BEP’s Mutilated Currency Division with a statement of the currency’s estimated value and how it became mutilated. All requests must be submitted using BEP Form 5283 (Off-site).

What not to do

Mutilated and contaminated currency are not always the same. Currency that is contaminated, but not mutilated, should be sent to the servicing Federal Reserve Bank using Contaminated Currency Depositing Procedures. However, any currency that is both contaminated and mutilated should be sent to the BEP. For more information on contaminated currency, review the Deposit Visual Reference Guide.

Action Item:

For further information, including the submission form, packing directions and FAQs, please view the Mutilated Currency Redemption (Off-site) page on the BEP’s website.