Banknotes can be damaged during use or storage. It is not unusual that folded banknotes can tear into two or more pieces. The Riksbank has informed the commercial banks of the rules applying to the redemption of damaged banknotes. It is therefore normally possible to take a damaged banknote to your own bank. However, the banks are not always willing to redeem damaged banknotes. If there is uncertainty regarding the redemption of banknotes, the commercial banks turn to the Riksbank for guidance.
The regulations for redeeming damaged banknotes are documented in the Riksbank’s Statute-Book, RBFS 1993:5 (see link below). The introduction states that:
Article 1 Damaged banknotes shall be redeemed
for the full amount if at least two-thirds of the entire banknote remains, and
for half the amount if less than two-thirds, but more than one-third, of the entire banknote remains.
The remains of the banknote may comprise several different parts if it is possible to establish with certainty that they originate from the same banknote and if they can be joined together to form a continuous area.
As the Riksbank receives questions regarding the significance of the words “at least” with regard to the concept of two-thirds, an explanation of the statute text follows. It refers to more than two-thirds of the banknote, as the separate parts of a banknote together can never result in payment worth more than a whole banknote.
Article 2 The possibility to redeem banknotes following a special investigation
It is stated here: "In cases where banknotes have been mutilated or damaged so that they can not be redeemed at their full face value in accordance with Article 1, the presenter may receive compensation for this following special analysis of the mutilated or damaged note."
Article 3 Discoloured banknotes
Please see the special section under discoloured banknotes in the menu on the left.
Article 4 Redemption of banknotes that have been intentionally altered can be refused
It is stated here: "If a banknote or coin has been intentionally altered so that its size or appearance deviates from that announced, redemption of the note or coin may be refused." The Riksbank applies this refusal as a rule to discoloured and plasticized banknotes, notes that have been deliberately cut up, banknotes where the security thread has been ripped out, and so on.
A common misconception is that compensation can be received for a banknote if the banknote number is intact. This is not the case. The rules regarding redemption of banknotes are as described earlier. The Riksbank charges a fee for the special investigations that may be necessary to establish whether damaged banknotes should be redeemed. This applies to remains of banknotes from night deposit boxes that have been exploded, remains due to fire, water damage and similar (see Article 2).
NB: The Riksbank no longer has a cashier's desk open to the general public. Please send banknotes to:
Redemption of banknotes
SE-431 22 Mölndal
Telephone: +46-31-334 2806
As well as explaining how the banknote/s became damaged, the sender should also provide the following information:
Name, address and telephone number
An International Bank Account Number (IBAN), bank name and address