How To Replace Or Exchange Your Damaged Money

by Khaleef Crumbley on March 26, 2011

in Government

Damaged Money, Damaged Currency

Have you ever washed your jeans, only to later discover that you left a wad of cash in them? Maybe the fact that this doesn’t happen to plastic should be added to my list of credit card benefits! If your cash has been ruined beyond repair, don’t just throw it away (hmm…I wonder if I’ve done that before)! The Bureau of Engraving and Printing will take your damaged money and damaged currency and possible replace it for you.

According to the Bureau’s website:

The Bureau of Engraving and Printing redeems partially destroyed or badly damaged currency as a free public service.

Every year the U.S. Treasury handles approximately 30,000 claims and redeems mutilated currency valued at over $30 million.

The Office of Financial Management, located in the BEP, uses experts to examine mutilated currency and will approve the issuance of a Treasury check for the value of the currency determined to be redeemable.

Here is a video that demonstrates how these experts examine and attempt to recreate the damaged money:

How To Exchange Your Damaged Money

Shipment Of Damaged Or Mutilated Currency

Damaged, or “mutilated” currency may be mailed or personally delivered to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. 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, careful packaging is essential to prevent additional damage.

Procedures For Packing Damaged Currency:

  • Regardless of the condition of the currency, Do Not Disturb the fragments any more than absolutely necessary.

  • If the money 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 in a roll when mutilated, do not attempt to unroll or straighten it out.

As you can see from the video, they go through a lot of detailed work to ensure that they are reimbursing people for the correct amounts. Therefore, I can understand all of the guidelines regarding how you pack and ship your damaged money.

How To Exchange Damaged Or Mutilated Coins:

If coin or any other metal is mixed with the currency, carefully remove it. Any fused, melted, or otherwise mutilated coins should be sent to the U.S. Mint at following address for evaluation:

U. S. Mint
Post Office Box 400
Philadelphia, PA 19105

For cases that are expected to take longer than 8 weeks to process, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing will issue a written confirmation of receipt.

Mutilated Currency Mailing Address:

Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Room 344A
P.O. Box 37048
Washington, D. C. 20013

All mutilated currency should be sent by “Registered Mail, Return Receipt Requested.” Insuring the shipment is the responsibility of the sender.

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 BEPs Office of Compliance, Mutilated Currency Division is located at 14th and C Streets, SW, Washington, DC.

To obtain information about your mutilated currency shipment, please contact the Mutilated Currency Division using any of the following numbers:

(866) 575-2361 (toll-free)

photo by Suburban Dollar

© 2011, Khaleef Crumbley. All rights reserved.

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Elizabeth Wright

I have quiet alot of coins that we have found that are damaged, how is the best way to get it replaed. It is probably Three or Four hundred dollars..


2 Zero Passive Income

Very interesting information here. I’ve had a few bills torn and messed up and every time I bring it to my bank they’ve replaced it for me. Then again, they weren’t that bad off.


3 Dolores Graves

The simplest thing to do with your torn or mutilated currency is to just take it to your local bank. As long as you have over half the bill (including at least one serial number), they will generally replace it for you on the spot. It is still legal currency, after all. If it is really damaged badly, as from fire, mold, or chemical, for instance, it will still have to be sent it in as described in the video, but the bank should handle the paperwork for you. However, in 30 years of banking, I only came across that situation once or twice, but we replaced torn bills all the time for people.


4 Carla Hill

I have a $20 bill that I washed in washer then dried in a large commercial dryer at a laundry mat. There is only about a quarter of it missing so more than half of the bill is intact, not damaged at all. To me it looks fine, you can tell it’s definitely a $20 bill. When I found out that no one would take it, ANYWHERE, I went to Bank of America, where I have banked for 17 years. They said they could not exchange it. The teller said that 1 digit of the serial # was gone so she couldn’t do it. I asked her what I could do & she told me my only option was to mail it in to the Treasury. She then proceeded to tell me that they had no information there, at a quite large BofA branch, on how to go about this, address, mailing method, etc… Yeah a bunch of BS @ BofA!!


5 Barb Friedberg

Khalef, If my money was ripped, I’d tape it together. It is waaaay to much work to send it back. I say, just spend it for something you would ordinarily buy!


6 Keith@IRA Income

Wow that is actually a pretty good idea! Wonder if there are any laws against it?

I think the bank will take the money back as well but don’t quote me on that.



7 Paula @

Perhaps all the mutilated and damaged dollar bills are another reason why the U.S. should consider migrating to dollar coins — they’re reportedly cheaper to make, and they don’t wear out as quickly.


8 Jon | Free Money Wisdom

I’m with the dividend pig, totally starting a business now that you mention it. Who’s in?!


9 The Dividend Pig

Interesting article. I wonder, maybe you found a new side business??? Buy peoples distressed money for well below face value, then redeem it for it’s full worth. Ha, I wonder if that would work…


10 Alan

The worst place to get damaged currency is at a pool snack bar. Any time I get change there I get wet wrinkled, mangled, dollar, bills back, which I then have to keep until I can iron it or take it to the bank. I never knew there was a place I could just mail it to.


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