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What to do with damaged or old cash

If you have damaged or old New Zealand banknotes and coins, this is how to return them to us and what we pay to replace them.

How to return old or damaged banknotes and coins

We will pay on any currency we issue, provided it is not so badly damaged it is unrecognisable. In extreme cases, we may need to make individual assessments.

We will only pay face value for currency that has been legally issued for use in New Zealand–not foreign currencies. We cannot give advice about the value of banknotes or coins as collectable items.

To get payment for old or damaged banknotes and coins from us, you need to return them to our office in Wellington. If you can't return the banknotes and coins in person, see how to return them by courier below.

If you are bringing in or sending old banknotes or coins to us, 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 download it and fill in electronically then print out and sign.

Download the form for returning old or damaged New Zealand currency into a NZ bank account (PDF 1.2 MB)

Download the form for returning old or damaged New Zealand currency into an overseas bank account (PDF 183 KB)

What you need to know

  • We only pay the face value of banknotes and/or coins. We don't offer advice on the value of banknotes and coins as collectable items.
  • Contact a numismatic dealer if you think the banknotes or coins may be worth more than face value.
  • We don't accept foreign currency.
  • Claims must be paid into a bank account.
  • Banknotes and coins can only be returned to our Wellington head office.
  • Banknotes and coins returns may take 10–20 working days to process.
  • Any claims of $1,000 or more will need to be discussed with a Currency Officer.

Contact details for currency officers:

Currency Officer
Reserve Bank of New Zealand
PO Box 2498
Wellington 6140
New Zealand
+64 4 472 2029
[email protected]

How to return banknotes and coins by courier

You can send old or damaged banknotes and coins by courier to our office in Wellington. Your parcel must be accompanied by one of these completed and signed forms, depending on which bank account you use:

Download the form for returning old or damaged New Zealand currency into a NZ bank account (PDF 1.2 MB)

Download the form for returning old or damaged New Zealand currency into an overseas bank account (PDF 1.2 MB)

Make sure you check the courier's terms of carriage as each company has different rules about what they will transport.

You must pay the total cost of sending the banknotes and coins to us.

Our Wellington office (on The Terrace) is the only office that accepts returns.

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.

View images of old banknotes on Facebook

The current 10 cent, 20 cent, 50 cent, $1 and $2 coins are also legal tender.

The 2015 Bulletin article 'Payments and the concept of legal tender' explains payments and the concept of legal tender in more detail

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 don't sell new or old banknotes and coins directly to the public.