Can an ATM withhold a suspect counterfeit banknote?


When you deposit banknotes in an ATM, you may be surprised to find that one of them has been withheld and get a receipt informing you that this banknote may be counterfeit and has to be sent to the Banco de España for analysis.

You should therefore bear the following in mind:

Can an ATM withhold a suspect counterfeit banknote?

According to the provisions of the Council Regulation (EC) 1338/2001Abre en ventana nueva, banks, currency-exchange bureaux and other professional cash handlers are required to withdraw from circulation any euro coins and banknotes they receive that are counterfeit or suspected of being so. They must also deliver them to the Banco de España within 15 working days.

What procedure must they follow?

In the case of ATMs which allow banknote deposits in an envelope, your bank will inform you at a later date of the possible detection of any suspect counterfeit banknote.

State-of-the-art ATMs which allow banknotes to be deposited one by one must withhold counterfeits and issue a receipt explaining they are going to be sent to the Banco de España for verification.

Your bank, in turn, must send the suspect banknote to the Banco de España together with the document obtained from the online formAbre en ventana nueva available on our website. This form includes the banknote data and the details of how it was detected. Once this information has been submitted, a reference number will be issued which allows you to check the status of the banknote. 

How can I check the status of the suspect banknote?

You may contact your bank or check the online formAbre en ventana nueva on the Banco de España’s website, by entering, among other information, the reference number given to you by your bank to access your case.

The result of the appraisal as to whether the banknote is authentic or counterfeit will be notified by post to the bank which reported the banknote. If it turns out to be authentic, the Banco de España will pay the banknote amount to the reporting bank or to the holder’s IBAN.

For more information on the verification of suspect counterfeit banknotes, click hereAbre en ventana nueva.


One last piece of advice: if you suspect a banknote is counterfeit, compare it with one you are sure is authentic and use the “feel, look and tilt” method. Further information can be found in this linkAbre en ventana nueva

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