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The Ops Stop: How to handle mutilated currency

The Ops Stop provides your organization with a one-stop shop full of helpful operational resources offered by the Federal Reserve Banks. For this installment of the series, we are reviewing how to handle mutilated currency with the Federal Reserve Banks.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury handles nearly 30,000 claims each year and redeems mutilated currency valued over $30 million. Mutilated currency is currency that has been damaged to the extent that one-half or less of the note remains, or its condition is such that its value is questionable and special examination by trained experts at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) is required. Examples include currency that has been burned, buried or water damaged. Anyone with day-to-day cash handling responsibilities is likely to come across mutilated currency at their institution. While the Federal Reserve does not accept deposits of mutilated currency, it’s important to know what to do and what not to do with mutilated currency.

What to do

Mutilated currency, which includes burnt currency, must be sent directly to the BEP’s Mutilated Currency Division with a statement of the estimated value of the currency and an explanation of how the currency became mutilated. To obtain further instructions on shipping mutilated currency and to see photo examples of mutilated currency, visit the BEP website (Off-site) or call the BEP’s toll-free number (866) 575-2361.

What not to do

Mutilated and contaminated currency are not always the same. Any currency that has been deemed unfit and contaminated, but not mutilated, should not be sent to the BEP’s Mutilated Currency Division. The Federal Reserve processes contaminated currency, however, any currency that is both contaminated and mutilated should be sent to the BEP. For more information on contaminated currency, visit the Deposit Visual Reference Guide.


The BEP has suspended the processing of submitted claims until further notice as a contingency related to the coronavirus. Personal deliveries of mutilated currency are not accepted at this time. The BEP continues to monitor the situation. For updates and further information regarding mutilated currency redemption, please visit the Mutilated Currency Redemption (Off-site) page of the BEP website.