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/2010/14
amended 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
Coinage Act
  • Section 7a Tasks defined in Articles 6 and 8 to 12 of Regulation (EU) No 1210/2010