How to exchange damaged torn and taped banknotes in India? – RBI Rule

Soiled, mutilated or imperfect banknotes are not useless. These notes can be redeemed through any bank branch or issuing office of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) provided they are not counterfeit.

It is important to note that banknotes with religious or political slogans written on them cease to be legal tender and cannot be exchanged. Branches of cooperative banks and regional rural banks (RRBs) cannot exchange mutilated banknotes.


What is a soiled banknote?

  • A banknote that stains due to continuous use and a two-piece bonded banknote that has all essential characteristics intact. A note becomes dirty and wrinkled due to gradual deterioration leading to discoloration, holes, yellowing and normal wear.

  • RBI states, “A note that has become soft or has developed minor cuts due to wear or is disfigured by oil, color, ink, etc. will be treated as a soiled note.”




What is a mutilated banknote?

Banknote with a missing part or with more than two pieces. mutilated banknotes can be presented in all bank branches. Notes so presented will be accepted, exchanged and adjudged in accordance with the Rules of Amendment of the Reserve Bank of India (Refund of Notes), 2018.


What is an imperfect banknote?

  • Any totally or partially erased, shrunken, washed, altered or indecipherable banknote but not including a mutilated banknote.

  • In the circular “Note Sorting Machines – Authentication and Fitness Sorting Parameters”, the RBI stated that a proper note is “an authentic note, clean enough to allow easy determination of its denomination and therefore suitable for recycling”.

  • An unfit note is a note that is not suitable for recycling due to its physical condition or that belongs to a series that the central bank has eliminated.


Can banks refuse to exchange damaged banknotes?

According to the RBI (Note Refund) Rules of 2009, no bank can refuse to exchange or refund torn, damaged, taped or mutilated banknotes. In fact, customers can file a complaint online if a bank refuses to exchange mutilated banknotes and action will be taken against the concerned bank along with a penalty to be paid up to Rs 10,000 as per the RBI’s banknote exchange policy.


Conditions for exchange of damaged banknotes – RBI rule

  • A face value or denomination and undamaged hallmarks or labels determine the amount to be received in exchange for a defective banknote.

  • Take a mutilated note of Rs 2,000, or 109.56 cm², for example. A 44 sq cm ticket of Rs 2,000 will get a half refund and 88 sq cm will give a full exchange return. Similarly, a 78 sq cm portion of a torn Rs 200 banknote will be fully refunded, while 39 sq cm will give half a return.

  • Extremely breakable or burnt, defaced, charred or inseparably reconstituted banknotes will not be accepted by bank branches for ease of exchange. Instead, holders are advised to deliver such soiled or mutilated notes to the relevant RBI issuing office when such notes are judged under a special procedure.

  • Banknotes, which prove to be deliberately torn, cut, altered or falsified, are rejected and not subject to payment of the counter value.






Highlights of the RBI Guidelines for “Torn, Soiled and Mutilated Banknote Exchange Facilities”:

  • A defective, mutilated or soiled banknote, slightly cut or stained or missing essential parts, or banknotes with a face value of Rs 10 and above in two pieces can be exchanged without filling in any form in any public sector bank (PSB), any money safe branch of a private sector bank or any RBI issuing office.

  • People with mutilated banknotes can go to the central bank regional office and deposit the note with its particulars and other required details including – name, address, bank account number and denominations of deposited banknotes, etc., in a box called ‘Triple Lock Receptacle’ (TLR) in a closed lid.

  • The TLR function is only available for mutilated or cut/torn banknotes and not for soiled banknotes. The value of mutilated banknotes is credited to the bank account through the electronic clearing service.




Essential security features on a banknote (rupee):

  • RBI, the sole banknote issuing authority in India, has issued banknotes in the denominations of Rs 10, Rs 20, Rs 50, Rs 100, Rs 500 and Rs 2,000 in the Mahatma Gandhi series (New ) (MGNS) – November 2016.

  • To facilitate detection of genuine banknotes, a rupee note contains distinct security features such as name of issuing authority, guarantee, RBI signature/seal, windowed security thread, micro-print , the clause of promise, the Ashoka Pillar emblem, the angular lines and the filigree portrait of Mahatma Gandhi, etc.




Is a banknote made of paper?

Printing of paper banknotes in India is done using 100% cotton, according to RBI. Cotton, which has great longevity and is more durable, does not tear easily. Banknotes are made from cotton which is a blend of 75% cotton and 25% linen in an adhesive gelatin solution to make the banknotes last longer.


How can the visually impaired identify banknotes?

The visually impaired can identify the denomination of a note using the application called ‘MANI’ (Mobile Aided Note Identifier). The MANI app helps to identify banknote denominations by checking the front or back of the banknote, including half-folded banknotes, under different holding angles and in a wide range of lighting conditions (normal light/dark light). daylight/low light, etc.). However, this app does not authenticate a note as counterfeit or genuine.

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