‘Wear and tear’ the main reason for banknote exchange

Covid-19 raised fears of banknote contamination, but historical exchange is mostly due to worn notes

The most common cause of damage requiring banknote substitution was general ‘wear and tear’ (51.5%), followed closely by contamination (42%), according to new data from Currency Benchmarks 2020.

Between 2019 and 2020, a sample of 33 central banks in this segment reported more than 11.8 billion banknotes had been exchanged due to damage. Perhaps surprisingly, more than 40% of central banks reported banknotes had been returned because they had been damaged by being chewed or eaten.


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