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Incomplete, damaged or contaminated banknotes and coins


The exchanging of incomplete, damaged or contaminated banknotes and coins

In addition to the MNB, credit institutions and post offices are also required to exchange forint banknotes and coins that are difficult to identify or damaged (incomplete, torn, contaminated banknotes or coins or notes mended with glue) through the service of converting cash into other denominations. Credit institutions and the postal service shall not be required to accept for denomination exchange forint banknotes and coins whose authenticity or face value cannot be clearly determined as well as intentionally mutilated (e.g. cut into half, perforated or turned) forint coins.

Any incomplete or damaged forint banknote would be acceptable for denomination exchange if more than 50% of such forint banknote is submitted.

The MNB shall, pursuant to the Central Bank Act effective from 1 January 2012, withdraw from circulation, with no payment made, such incomplete or damaged banknotes the surface of which is smaller than 50% of the original surface. It shall store the banknotes withdrawn for such reason for 30 calendar days, then it shall destruct them.

  • During the 30-calendar day storage period Customers shall be entitled to submit that portion/those portions of the banknote that they might have found later. The receipt from the MNB in respect of the portion submitted earlier shall also be provided. If evidence can be provided that the portion of the banknote stored by the MNB and the portion/s/ submitted later constitute the same banknote and, combined, exceed 50% of the original surface of the banknote, the MNB shall exchange the incomplete banknote into legal tender at face value.

Credit institutions and post offices shall accept such incomplete or damaged banknotes the surface of which is smaller than 50% of the original surface with no payment made and forward them to the MNB for the purpose of withdrawal and destruction.

Banknotes and coins that are difficult to identify or damaged are exchanged to the legal tender free of charge by the MNB at the Bank’s Retail Cash Office (Budapest, V. Kiss Ernő u. 1.). Opening hours can be seen here: cashier services for the general public

The applicable MNB decrees enable credit institutions and post offices to carry out the conversion of cash into other denominations, including the exchanging of damaged banknotes and coins, subject to certain restrictions and conditions. Among others, such conditions may include a restriction on the branches authorised to engage in the activities in question, requiring the use of other services (e.g. an existing account with the bank) or the charging of a fee for the service of the conversion between denominations).

On the other hand, there is no obligation to accept forint banknotes and coins that are difficult to identify or damaged during the payment transaction.

‘Incomplete forint banknotes’ include pierced banknotes, i.e. having at least one visible hole (larger than 10 mm2) on their surface and mutilated banknotes, where the missing fragment is in excess of 3 mm.

(For the additional detailed definition of incomplete forint banknotes or banknotes unfit for circulation, see Annex 1 of MNB Decree 11/2011. (IX. 6.) on the technical duties related to the processing and circulation of banknotes and their protection against counterfeiting.)

‘Damaged banknotes’ include the banknotes whose condition has changed as a result of a physical (mechanical) or chemical effect or in any other manner, including banknotes contaminated chemically (by a chemical agent), biologically or because of the operation of security devices employed for the prevention of the theft of cash and pierced or washed-out banknotes.

‘Coins difficult to identify’ include forint coins that are tarnished, significantly discoloured or where the condition of the external surface no longer enables the identification of the denomination or the design (e.g. corroded forint coins).

‘Damaged coins’ include coins having lost their original shape.

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