Damaged and contaminated banknotes

If you have an accidentally torn, damaged or mutilated genuine Bank of England note, we may be able to exchange it for you. 

What counts as a damaged banknote?

A damaged banknote is a genuine Bank of England banknote that has been accidentally torn or damaged.

Claiming for a damaged banknote

As a general rule, we will only reimburse you with the face value of a damaged banknote if you still have at least half of the banknote.

To apply for a reimbursement, fill out our damaged banknote application form and send it to us with all of the remains of the banknote. Please refer to the form for our requirements of proof of identity and address. We usually assess most claims within one month (but may be delayed beyond this due to the postal worker strikes). Successful applications are reimbursed by electronic payment. 

Damaged banknote application form

You cannot deliver damaged banknotes in person. Posting the banknote is done at your own risk. We recommend that you send high-value claims by Royal Mail special delivery to the following address: The Manager, Dept MN, Bank of England, Langston Road, Loughton, IG10 3TN.

If your banknotes have been contaminated by a biohazard or any other noxious substance or hazardous chemical, please telephone us on 020 3461 2053 for advice before posting.

In a very small number of cases, we may be able to reimburse you if you have less than half of the banknote but there is clear auditable evidence that genuine banknotes have been damaged or destroyed. This typically only applies to businesses, for example when the damage has been caused by a fire in an ATM.

Please email us at DeptMN@bankofengland.co.uk or call 020 3461 2053 (Mon - Fri 8am - 3.30pm) for more information.

Dye-stained banknotes

We work with the cash industry to encourage the use of dye-staining devices in cash boxes. These devices permanently stain banknotes during robberies, so stolen banknotes are much easier to spot.

If you are offered a dye-stained banknote, we advise you to refuse it. This prevents stolen cash from going into circulation, which acts as a deterrent to criminals and stops them profiting from crime.  

This page was last updated 31 January 2023