Precautions when using banknotes and coins

When using banknotes and coins, bank customers should be aware that:

  • It is not advisable to carry large quantities of banknotes or coins, since cash does not have proof of ownership systems;

  • Cash is subject to fraud and therefore it is important to be able to identify the features of banknotes and coins in circulation to recognise its genuineness;

  • Banknotes and coins should be in good condition as they may not be accepted if they are damaged.


Counterfeit banknotes and coins

A counterfeit banknote or coin has no value and cannot be exchanged.

Bank customers must know the features of euro banknotes and coins to check their authenticity when they are received.

When you receive a euro banknote or coin, you should check the various security features and, if in doubt, compare it with a banknote/coin that you know to be genuine.

All you need to do is to feel, look and tilt the banknote to check its security features.

Learn more about the security features of banknotes on Banco de Portugal’s website.

Elementos de segurança das notas

All you need to do is to feel, look and check the magnetic properties of the coin to detect its security features.

Learn more about the security features of coins on Banco de Portugal’s website.

Elementos de segurança das moedas

If you have doubts as to the genuineness of a banknote or coin, it should be taken to a branch of Banco de Portugal or a credit institution, where all due clarifications will be given.

If it is confirmed that the banknotes or coins are counterfeit, Banco de Portugal and credit institutions are obliged to withhold them. It is important that you inform Banco de Portugal or the credit institution of the circumstances in which you received the counterfeit banknotes or coins.

Do not try to pass on a banknote that you believe or know is counterfeit, as it is a criminal offence.


Damaged banknotes and coins

Damaged or deteriorated banknotes and coins may not be accepted.

It is possible to exchange euro banknotes and coins at Banco de Portugal’s cash offices at no cost.

Banco de Portugal replaces mutilated or damaged euro banknotes for a banknote of equal value, fit for circulation, where:

  • The authenticity of the banknote is confirmed;

  • In the case of a mutilated banknote, the fragment of the banknote presented is at least 50% or, if less, where the applicant proves that the missing parts have been destroyed.

Neutralised banknotes are banknotes that have been damaged by the action of anti-theft devices installed in ATMs (of the Multibanco network) or in banknote transportation cases.

Neutralised banknotes should not be accepted under any circumstances.

If you are inadvertently in possession of a neutralised banknote, you should go immediately to a police station, Polícia Judiciária, Banco de Portugal or a credit institution.

Banco de Portugal reimburses or replaces euro coins that have become unfit for circulation where:

  • Their authenticity is confirmed;

  • The coins presented have become unfit for circulation due to prolonged circulation or an accident.