During cash processing, the Bundesbank checks banknotes and coins for authenticity and fitness for circulation. This is one of its tasks pursuant to Section 3 of the Bundesbank Act. In order to fulfil this task, the Bundesbank operates banknote and coin processing systems at its branches, which help ensure the high quality of cash in Germany at all times. Soiled or damaged banknotes are removed from circulation, shredded, compressed into briquettes and disposed of. Counterfeits are also removed during this process. The high-performance machines at the Bundesbank’s branches check up to 33 banknotes per second for authenticity and fitness for circulation. Coins that are no longer fit for circulation are also removed, invalidated on behalf of the Federal Ministry of Finance and sold to metal recycling facilities so that the metal can be reused.
In addition to the cash processing performed by the Bundesbank, private cash handlers are also allowed to process banknotes and coins and put them straight back into circulation, provided they meet certain criteria.