Banknote recycling

The following pages provide information on banknote and coin recycling. Here you can find out more about the systems approved for professional cash processing.

The “Legal framework” section gives a concise overview of European and national legislation. Clicking on the links will take you directly to the relevant legislative texts.

Legal framework

Professional cash handlers (which include credit institutions and cash-in-transit companies) are legally required to check the authenticity and fitness for circulation of cash before recycling it.

Pursuant to Decision ECB/2010/14 of the European Central Bank on banknotes and Regulation (EU) No 1210/2010 on coins, the following rules apply where cash recycling is concerned:

Recycling of banknotes via customer-operated machines

Banknotes must first be checked for authenticity and fitness for circulation using a banknote processing system listed on the ECB’s website.

Recycling of banknotes and coins over the counter

Cash that has been checked for authenticity and fitness by trained employees and/or appropriately certified devices may be paid out again over the counter.


Legal basis

What is covered

Regulation (EC) No 1338/2001
amended by Regulation (EC) No 44/2009

  • Definition of professional cash handlers
  • Obligation to check cash before recirculation
  • Obligation to detain counterfeit currency
  • Handover of counterfeit money to national authorities
  • Member States’ monitoring and sanctioning powers

Decision ECB/2010/14amended by ECB/2012/19 and ECB/2019/39

  • Obligation to check euro banknotes for authenticity and fitness prior to recirculation
  • Certification of banknote handling machines
  • Classification and treatment of euro banknotes by banknote processing systems
  • Performance of on-the-spot controls 

Regulation (EU) No 1210/2010

 Obligation to check euro coins for authenticity and fitness prior to recirculation

  • Obligation to turn in counterfeit or unfit coins
  • Certification of coin processing machines
  • Performance of on-the-spot controls
  • Reporting requirements relating to coin recycling

Bundesbank Act (Gesetz über die Deutsche Bundesbank)

  • Section 36 Obligation to withdraw counterfeit money from circulation and to turn it in
  • Section 36a Reporting requirement – banknote handling machines
  • Section 37a On-the-spot controls and powers of sanction

Regulation on the auditing of cash (Bargeldprüfungsverordnung)

  • Reporting requirements relating to banknote recycling