What to do with damaged or old cash
How to return damaged or old New Zealand banknotes and coins to us and what we pay to replace them.
What you need to know
- We will only pay face value for currency that has been legally issued for use in New Zealand.
- We will pay on any currency we issue — unless it is badly damaged and unrecognisable. In extreme cases, we may need to make individual assessments.
- We do not accept foreign currency.
- You can only return your old or damaged banknotes and coins to our Wellington office.
- To receive payment from us for old or damaged banknotes and coins, you need to return them to our office in Wellington. If you cannot return currency to our Wellington office in person, you can use a courier or postal service at your own risk.
- Contact a numismatic dealer if you think the banknotes or coins may be worth more than face value.
- We do not offer advice on the value of banknotes and coins as collectable items.
- Separate coins by size before returning.
- We will pay out claims to a valid bank account only.
- Any claims of $1,000 or more will require input from a Currency Officer.
- Banknotes and coin returns may take up to 20 working days to process.
If you are bringing in old or damaged banknotes and coins to us in person, print and complete one of the following forms, depending on where your bank account is based.
You can either:
- print and complete by hand, or
- fill it in electronically, then print it out and sign.
Bring the completed form and your old or damaged cash with you to our office in Wellington and staff at our Reception will help you with your claim.
You can send old or damaged banknotes and coins by courier or post to our office in Wellington.
Use of couriers and postal services is at your own risk.
You must pay the total cost of sending the banknotes and coins to us.
You must complete and sign one of the following forms, depending on where your bank account is based.
What is legal tender?
Series 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 of New Zealand $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 banknotes are legal tender, regardless of how old they are and what condition they are in, so long as they are still recognisable as banknotes.
The current 10 cent, 20 cent, 50 cent, $1 and $2 coins are also legal tender.
You can find more information about legal tenders in our Bulletin article Payments and the concept of legal tender.
Banknotes and coins that are no longer legal tender (with the date withdrawn from circulation) include:
- British silver coins (crown, half-crown, florin, shilling, sixpence and threepence) (1/2/1935)
- Series 1 and Series 2 banknotes (pre-decimal 1/11/1982)
- 1 cent and 2 cent coins (30/4/1990)
- $1 and $2 notes (16/4/1993)
- cupro-nickel 5 cent, 10 cent, 20 cent, 50 cent coins (1/11/2006).
We will always pay face value for currency that has been legally issued for use in New Zealand but has ceased to be legal tender (including pre-decimal currency).
Buying banknotes and coins from us
We only issue banknotes and coins to the retail banks. We do not sell new or old banknotes and coins directly to the public.