Tuesday 10 December 2019

Wash and gone as €20m in notes are destroyed

An ink stained €50 note and a normal one.
An ink stained €50 note and a normal one.

Ed Carty

A massive €20m of damaged bank notes, some ruined by washing machines and microwaves, have been replaced by authorities since the start of last year.

The Central Bank revealed its note checkers refused 370 applications for new money this year - the vast majority because less than half the original note was handed in.

Among the excuses people have offered for ruined notes are that they tried to dry out soaked or damp cash in a microwave or that they unwittingly put them through a wash and spin cycle.

The Central Bank said €10.7m worth of what it classed as "mutilated notes" were reimbursed last year, while this year €9.9m has been replaced.

Experts in its currency division are reporting more ink-stained notes being handed in over recent years by professional cash handlers, mainly cash-in-transit security companies.

Last year, 195 lots of these dyed notes were replaced by authorities, while 245 applications have been processed this year.

"All lodgements of mutilated banknotes are verified and authenticated prior to the generation of a reimbursement payment," the Central Bank said.

The bank said the increase in staining was down to the increased use of Intelligent Banknote Neutralisation Systems, a pocket of dye that bursts if a cash box is forced open.

Applications to refund ruined notes can be refused for reasons other than less than half the note surviving.

The Central Bank said they are also rejected if the damage was intentional, the damaged note is a health and safety risk because it is unsanitary or blood-stained, and if criminality is involved, like notes stained following a robbery.

While all notes handed in are checked and verified by the authority, note checkers do not record the numbers burnt, torn, decomposed, discoloured or defaced for any other reason.

The Central Bank only retains information on refusals dating back 12 months, and for September-December last year 549 submissions were refused - again the vast majority of these were because less than half the note survived.

Irish Independent

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