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) to forint banknotes or coins fit for circulation of the same denomination or exchange them within the framework of denomination exchange to fit-for-circulation forint banknotes or coins in the amount corresponding to the value of the difficult-to-identify or damaged banknotes or coins. Denomination exchange can be carried out subject to certain limitations and terms and conditions. A condition like that may be the tying of the denomination exchange to using another service (e.g. the existence of a bank account) or the charging of a fee. Exchange for the same denomination must not be tied to the having a bank account or using another service, and no fee is allowed to be charged for the exchange. Customers must be informed about the availability of the exchange in announcements placed at well-visible points in the branches and at the Internet website in an easily accessible manner.
Credit institutions and the postal service shall not be required to accept for 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 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. 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 (1013 Budapest, Krisztina körút 55.). Opening hours can be seen here: cashier services for the general public
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 19/2019. (V. 13.) 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.