What can we do with torn or damaged banknotes?
Have you just realised that you’ve got a damaged euro banknote in your wallet? Stores will likely object if you try to pay with it. But don’t worry. Banknotes that are stained, have got wet or been burnt or torn can be exchanged for new ones of the same value.
When faced with a situation like this, you can go to the Banco de España headquarters or any of its branch offices for the banknote to be inspected and, where appropriate, replaced by a new one.
As a general rule, for the banknote to be replaced you will need to hand over more than half of the original banknote or prove that the missing (larger) part has been destroyed.
Severely damaged banknotes will be analysed by qualified Banknote Analysis Unit staff, who will decide whether they are genuine and can be replaced or credited to the current account of the person presenting them. More information about how to present damaged banknotes is available through the Banco de España's Virtual Office here.
You can also ask your bank to replace the banknote, although there is no express legislation requiring financial institutions to provide this service. However, there is nothing stopping a financial institution from doing so.
The Banco de España also provides the general public with an online course on damaged banknotes. The course teaches you about their characteristics, the conditions and procedures for replacing them and what to do if someone offers us banknotes damaged by anti-theft devices.
More information on banknotes and coins can be found here.