Where can I exchange a banknote? What do I do if I suspect a banknote is counterfeit?

You can exchange a banknote for another one at your own bank branch. The Banque de France also exchanges banknotes under certain circumstances: high denomination notes for low denomination ones, first-series euro notes for second-series ones, damaged or mutilated banknotes for new ones (in partnership with La Poste). Find out what to do if you are not sure your banknote is genuine.

More often than not, you can exchange a banknote at your regular bank. Nevertheless, the Banque de France offers the following exchange services.

For banknotes in good condition

● Euro

You have one or more high denomination banknotes (€500, €200 or €100) and you would like to exchange them for lower denominations: you can call in at a Banque de France cash centre open to the public.

Find the nearest branch in your region:

Depending on the total amount of the required exchange, it is advisable to contact the Banque de France cash centre in advance to ensure that it has enough low denomination banknotes to meet your request. If the Banque de France cash centre is unable to make the exchange and if you are having problems depositing the banknotes directly into your bank account, the cash centre will offer to accept the exchange and reimburse you by bank transfer.

Since 2013, the first euro banknote series (issued in 2002) has been gradually replaced by a new one. However, the first series of banknotes will keep their value for an unlimited period of time and are exchangeable for second series banknotes should they become mutilated or damaged, at the Banque de France and in other euro area central banks.

French franc banknotes have been demonetised since 17 February 2012 and can no longer be exchanged at the Banque de France.

French franc banknotes repayment operations ended on 17 February 2012, in accordance with the Article L122-1 of the Monetary and Financial Code, which stipulates that the Banque de France is required to ensure the exchange of banknotes denominated in francs against euro banknotes within ten years as of the end of their legal tender status. Franc banknotes, which were previously reimbursed at face value, are no longer reimbursed in euros.

French franc banknotes, whose legal tender status was withdrawn on 18 February 2002, were therefore reimbursed by the Banque de France at their face value up to and including 17 February 2012. Since that date, they can no longer be exchanged at the Banque de France.

However, these banknotes may still have some market value for collectors or numismatists].

More information, in French : Lettre du fiduciaire, N°2- Juin 20211

What you need to know about the services provided at the Banque de France's counters:


Find out more about franc banknotes:

● Pacific francs and Comorian francs

These specific currencies can be bought and sold exclusively at the Banque de France's Paris cash centre (Caisse de Paris) at 39, rue Croix-Petits-Champs – 75001 Paris.

Find out more about the Caisse de Paris:

The Banque de France does not provide a foreign exchange service for any other currency.

For damaged euro banknotes

You have one or more banknotes that cannot be used because of their condition: they are stained, damaged, torn or partially burned.

The Banque de France, following an inspection of the damaged banknotes, may:

● in the case of authentic banknotes for which more than 50% of the original surface of the banknote remains intact:

◦immediately exchange the damaged banknotes for notes in good condition if the transaction amount is less than EUR 800,

◦for amounts of EUR 800 or more, reimburse the customer by bank transfer.

● in the case of badly damaged banknotes requiring a detailed inspection, reimburse the customer by bank transfer, subject to the results of an inspection by our specialised services, irrespective of the transaction amount.

What you need to know about the services provided at the Banque de France's counters:

Certain La Poste branches also operate on behalf of the Banque de France, dealing with individuals wanting to be reimbursed for damaged banknotes. Following an inspection by the Banque de France, any total or partial reimbursement is made by bank transfer only.

What you need to know about the services provided by La Poste:

Find the address of the Banque de France cash centre that is open to the public in your region, in order to obtain an immediate total or partial – depending on the results of an inspection – exchange of banknotes:

Find the address of the Banque de France or La Poste site in your region eligible to accept your banknotes in order to give you a total or partial – depending on the results of an inspection – reimbursement by bank transfer:

Proof of identity must be provided for all transactions.

Evidence supporting the origin of the banknotes may be requested as part of anti-money laundering procedures or if it is suspected that the banknote was damaged by an anti-theft device.

Bank details must be provided for transactions to be settled by bank transfer.

Intentionally damaged banknotes are not reimbursed. Professionals may be billed for costs associated with banknotes that were accidentally damaged following the activation of an anti-theft device.

Note that postal regulations forbid sending damaged banknotes by mail.

When the note is handed over to you

After checking the security features with the feel-look- TILT test, if you are sure that the note presented is not genuine, it is recommended to:

  •   Ask for another note or other means of payment;
  •  Try to keep in mind the face of your interlocutor;
  •   Once the client has left, contact the police authorities, providing them with all the necessary information (description, vehicle used, presence of accomplices, etc.) that can be used to identify him;
  •  Ensure your safety at all times.

If you have a mere doubt about the authenticity of the note (e.g. a badly damaged note), you can refuse it, or accept it provided that you have taken note of the customer’s identity.

Once you have accepted it

After accepting a banknote, if you think that it is a counterfeit, it is forbidden to put it into circulation as it is considered as a criminal offence. Counterfeit banknotes must be delivered to the police, to a bank or to the National Central Bank against a receipt. For shopkeepers, the loss incurred can be deducted from the accounting results, as the receipt issued by the National Central Bank serves as a tax receipt.

If the bank or the National Central Bank confirms that the banknote is authentic, it will be exchanged without any fee.

Updated on: 03/30/2021 15:35