The National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) warns the public that the banknotes that were intentionally damaged by banks during martial law have been entering circulation from the temporarily occupied territories, as the money was stolen by invaders or looters from the seized banks’ branches.
If a damaged banknote is offered during cash settlements, the NBU recommends to refuse it and ask for a different one. The NBU also advises to report the distributors of such banknotes to the National Police of Ukraine to stop the perpetrators’ activities.
Why could banks damage the banknotes?
Due to the military operations or potential threats of such operations, in line with the NBU’s regulations, banks that are unable to transport cash are required to damage it in order to make the banknotes unfit for payment.
Banknotes can be damaged mechanically (by cutting off at least half of the banknote and destroying it, cutting it in half or in triplets, drilling three or more holes in the banknote) or by coloring at least 50% of the banknote’s surface area using special solutions or other color substances.
As of today, banks have sent to the NBU, for examination, the intentionally damaged hryvnia banknotes with three or four drilled holes that were withdrawn from circulation. The banknotes have most likely been stolen from branches of Ukrainian banks located in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine and have been put into circulation to destabilize the situation in the financial sector.
How can households and businesses be affected?
The NBU warns businesses and households against accepting such banknotes – colored, cut, or holed – during cash settlements, as they have ceased to be legal tender. Banks have no right to exchange for individuals and legal entities banknotes that were damaged in the abovementioned ways. Instead, they must withdraw them from circulation and send them for examination to the NBU and inform the law enforcement authorities about the incidents.
In addition, the NBU has drawn the banks’ attention to the need to take additional measures to prevent the banknotes that were damaged in the abovementioned ways from reaching banks' cash desks (including through self-service kiosks or ATMs that accept cash) and to protect households against the possibility of using such bills when making cash settlements.
The NBU asks households and businesses to be vigilant and draws attention to a possible risk of losing money due to receiving damaged banknotes (holed, cut, and colored) when making payments.
What to do with damaged banknotes?
The NBU recommends not to succumb to provocations and make payments only with cash that raises no doubts about its authenticity.
If any doubts arise, individuals should contact any bank. During martial law, damaged banknotes cannot be exchanged but must be removed from circulation to be further examined by the NBU.
Counterfeit and intentionally damaged banknotes are confiscated without reimbursement. The withdrawal from circulation shall be reported to the law enforcement authorities, which will conduct the relevant investigation.
The NBU once again recommends Ukrainians to give preference to cashless payments as a more secure way of payment under martial law.
Since the early days of the war, the cashless payment infrastructure has been operating in full and without interruptions where network connection is available. Individuals have 24/7 access to funds in their accounts.