How to exchange unusable or soiled or mutilated notes in India

Are you holding unusable notes ? You can exchange it by visiting either a public sector or private bank’s cash counter. RBI has instructed banks to exchange notes that are either soiled or mutilated or are in unusable conditions.

Soiled notes are those which have become dirty and slightly cut because of its use. Mutilated are those which are composed of more than two pieces or some essential portions are missing in it.

Essential portions in a currency note are name of issuing authority, guarantee, promise clause, signature, Ashoka Pillar emblem/portrait of Mahatma Gandhi, water mark.

You are not required to fill out any form to exchange these notes. Soiled notes can be exchanged to full value at any counter of a bank. However, mutilated are to undergo some test before getting eligible for exchange of full value. You will be paid in full for mutilated notes if;

  • The area of the single largest undivided piece of the note is more than 50% of the whole note. This is applicable for the denomination of Rs. 1, Rs.2, Rs. 5, Rs, 10 and Rs. 20.
  • For denomination of Rs. 50, Rs. 100, Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000, the specified area as mentioned above is 65%.

In addition to this, any note which is in imperfect condition i.e. wholly or partially obliterated shrunk, washed, indecipherable or altered etc. can also be exchanged for full value if it can be proved that it’s a genuine note and the matter printed on it has not become totally illegible.

Which Notes are not eligible for exchange

RBI has also instructed not to exchange notes falling into any of the criteria mentioned below;

  • If you have the denomination of Rs.1, Rs.2, Rs. 5, Rs.10 and Rs. 20 of which the single largest undivided piece of note is less than or equal to 50% of the whole area of the note then you cannot exchange it.
  • Similarly for the denomination of Rs. 50, Rs. 100, Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000, if the area of the single largest undivided piece is less than 40% then it cannot be exchanged.
  • It will also not be exchanged if it has been deliberately cut, defaced or altered.
  • Notes carrying extrinsic words or visible representation to convey message of political or religious character or the interest of any person or entity.

It’s not required to have an account with the bank to get exchanged the soiled or mutilated or imperfect notes. However, if bank is not able to identify the genuineness of the note then you cannot exchange it.

In case bank refuses to accept or exchange soiled or mutilated notes then you can contact the controlling officer in charge of the bank. If this action didn’t work out then you can complain regional RBI office and the currency issue department on this.

Editorial Staff at Yourfinancebook is a team of finance professionals. The team has more than a decade experience in taxation and personal finance.