Frequently asked questions about damaged money
Please read the following information before contacting the Bundesbank.
In addition to euro and DM banknotes/coins, the Bundesbank also accepts banknotes issued by the Bank deutscher Länder (ie notes issued from 20 June 1948 onwards) for reimbursement. The Bundesbank does not accept other predecessors of the Deutsche Mark (eg the Reichsmark), the East German Mark or foreign currencies for reimbursement.
If the euro banknote/coin that you submit is eligible for reimbursement, it will be exchanged at full face value. In the case of DM banknotes/coins, the corresponding euro value will be reimbursed.
Please use the Reimbursement application for damaged EUR/DEM banknote(s)/coin(s) and complete this in full. In particular, please provide details on the cause of damage so as to avoid unnecessary queries. If submitting DM and euro banknotes/coins at the same time, please fill out two separate reimbursement applications.
Submissions of banknotes/coins that have been treated with chemical or other hazardous substances must be accompanied by a written declaration specifying what substances have been used (eg material safety data sheet).
You can either ask your bank if it is willing to forward the money to a Bundesbank branch or take the damaged money directly to a Bundesbank branch yourself. If you opt for the latter submission method, please note your branch's counter opening times.
Alternatively, you can send your money by post to the following address.
Please select a secure delivery service as the Bundesbank cannot accept any liability for money lost en route.
If it is not possible to directly exchange your money at a Bundesbank branch, it takes up to three months from the time the money is lodged with a Bundesbank branch until reimbursement is made or reimbursement is denied in writing.
In particularly difficult or labour-intensive cases, the examination process may take longer.
If you have provided bank account details (IBAN and/or BIC) on your reimbursement application, your reimbursement will be credited to your account.
Alternatively, the amount to be reimbursed can be paid out in cash at a Bundesbank branch. Please specify your branch of choice on the reimbursement application. You will then be notified when your money is available for collection.
Please note that the Bundesbank does not send cash by post.
If you find money, please first contact the responsible lost property office.
The Bundesbank replaces damaged genuine euro and DM banknotes if more than half of the note is still intact or it can be proven that the rest of the note has been destroyed.
Deliberately damaged euro banknotes will not be replaced. The same applies to euro and DM banknotes that have already been devalued by a Bundesbank branch.
Seal everything up – even the smallest pieces or the residue (eg ash) – so as to avoid further damage. In the case of burnt banknotes, please ensure that solid objects such as coins do not further damage the ash during transport.
In the event that submitted banknote fragments are ineligible for reimbursement, we generally return these to the submitter with a letter explaining why reimbursement has been denied.
If you find additional fragments of the banknote at a later date, you can send these to the Bundesbank to be examined again.
Banknotes are generally replaced by the Bundesbank free of charge. The Bundesbank only charges a fee to exchange euro banknotes that have been damaged through the inadvertent activation of an anti-theft device.
No. Such banknotes are generally gift and decorative items that were, for instance, produced on behalf of the ECB. It is impossible to free the banknotes from the acrylic without damaging them. Consequently, they cannot be replaced by the Bundesbank.
Submissions of euro banknotes that have been pre-marked – in order to trace and identify stolen money, for instance – must be accompanied by a certificate from the police force or another investigative authority.
Banknotes that have been damaged through the activation of an anti-theft device must be submitted together with a material safety data sheet specifying the anti-theft ink that was used. Furthermore, detailed information on the money's origin is required.
The Bundesbank reimburses or replaces euro coins that have become unfit for circulation due to long circulation or accident.
The Bundesbank does not reimburse euro coins that have been altered either deliberately or by a process that could reasonably be expected to have the effect of so altering them. All euro coins that are deemed unfit are taken out of circulation.
Furthermore, euro coins that have been counterfeited or that have already been exchanged and devalued by a Bundesbank branch or another ESCB central bank cannot be replaced.
The Bundesbank will not exchange DM coins for legal tender if they have been counterfeited, contain holes or have been altered in any way other than through normal use.
Coins that are not eligible for reimbursement are removed from circulation. The exception is DM coins and euro commemorative coins that are not eligible for reimbursement, provided they are reclaimed within a given time limit (see notice of reimbursement).
A processing fee for replacing coins is not charged at present.