How to Replace Mutilated US Currency

Is the Bill 'Mutilated' or Not?

Torn twenty dollar bill, repaired with tape
Jeffrey Coolidge / The Image Bank / Getty Images

Every year the U.S. Treasury redeems over $30 million worth of damaged and mutilated currency. Do you know how to get damaged US currency replaced?

The correct procedure for replacing US currency depends on how and how badly the money has been damaged.

According to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP), U.S. currency that has been damaged, but not mutilated can be redeemed at a bank, while truly mutilated bills require special handling.

During fiscal year 2005, the BEP’s Office of Currency Standards handled more than 26,000 mutilated currency claims and sent out reimbursement checks for over $97 million.

What is Damaged, but Not Mutilated Money?

Damaged but not mutilated currency includes any bill that is CLEARLY more than one-half of the original bill, and does not require any special examination or investigation to determine its value. Examples of non-mutilated bills include those that are badly soiled, dirty, defaced, disintegrated, limp, torn or otherwise "worn out."

These damaged-but-not-mutilated bills can be exchanged through your local bank.

Replacing Mutilated Currency

Mutilated currency is considered to be any bill NOT CLEARLY more than one-half of the original bill and/or requires special examination to determine its value.  Mutilated currency is most often damaged by fire, flooding, chemicals, explosions, animals or insects.

Another very common source of damage to currency is petrification or deterioration by burying.

Mutilated currency must be mailed or personally delivered to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. Here, according to the U.S. Treasury, is how to do it:

When mutilated currency is submitted, a letter should be included stating the estimated value of the currency and an explanation of how the currency became mutilated.

Each case is carefully examined by an experienced mutilated currency examiner. The amount of time needed to process each case varies with its complexity and the case workload of the examiner.

The Director of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing has the final authority for the settlement of mutilated currency claims.

Although Treasury examiners are usually able to determine the amount and value of mutilated currency, carefully packaging the currency is essential to prevent additional damage.

Procedure for Mailing Mutilated Currency

The following procedures should be used when packing mutilated currency for examination and possible replacement by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing:

  • Regardless of the condition of the currency, do not disturb the fragments any more than is absolutely necessary.
     
  • If the currency is brittle or inclined to fall apart, pack it carefully in plastic and cotton without disturbing the fragments and place the package in a secure container.
     
  • If the currency was mutilated in a purse, box, or other container, it should be left in the container to protect the fragments from further damage.
     
  • If it is absolutely necessary to remove the fragments from the container, send the container along with the currency and any other contents that may have currency fragments attached.
     
  • If the currency was flat when mutilated, do not roll or fold the notes.
     
  • If the currency was rolled up when mutilated, do not attempt to unroll or straighten it out.
     

  • If coins or any other metal is mixed with the currency, carefully remove it. Any fused, melted, or otherwise mutilated coins should be sent to, Superintendent U. S. Mint, Post Office Box 400 Philadelphia, PA. 19105.

Mailing Address for Mutilated Currency

Mutilated currency, packed according to the above instructions, should be mailed to:

Department of the Treasury
Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Office of Currency Standards
P. O. Box 37048 Washington, D. C. 20013

All mutilated currency should be sent by "Registered Mail, Return Receipt Requested." Purchasing postal insurance on the shipment is the responsibility of the sender.

For cases that are expected to take longer than four weeks to process, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing will issue a written confirmation of receipt.



To obtain information about your mutilated currency shipment, contact the Mutilated Currency Division at 1-866-575-2361 or 202-874-8897.

Personal deliveries of mutilated currency to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing are accepted between the hours of 8:00 A.M. and 2:00 P.M., Monday through Friday, except holidays. The Office of Currency Standards is located at 14th and C Streets, S. W., Washington, D. C.