Banknotes and Coin


If you have further questions about banknotes and coin, please do not hesitate to contact us

The SARB has the sole authority to produce, issue and destroy South African currency, and is entrusted to ensure the availability and integrity of the South African rand. 


The SARB was established on 30 June 1921 to issue, distribute and destroy banknotes and coin. The first banknotes were issued by the SARB on 19 April 1922.

The rand has been legal tender in South Africa since 1961, when it replaced the pound. It takes its name from the Witwatersrand – the ridge on which Johannesburg is built and where most of South Africa’s gold deposits were found.

The rand is legal tender in the Common Monetary Area, which includes, eSwatini, Lesotho and Namibia.

In 1996 the mandate of the SARB was expanded to include price stability maintenance,  one of its main functions remains ensuring a sufficient supply of trusted banknotes and coin.

The Currency Management Department works with the South African Mint Company (RF) Proprietary Limited (SA Mint), which mints coins, and the South African Bank Note Company (RF) Proprietary Limited (SABN), which prints banknotes. Both are subsidiaries of the SARB.

The SARB Act 90 of 1989 provides for the legal tender status of the banknotes and coin issued by the SARB. It also contains provisions relating to the mutilation, reproduction and counterfeiting of South African banknotes and coin.


Explore, play and discover our currency through the SARB Currency App

The SARB Currency App takes users on a journey of discovery by raising awareness about South African banknotes and coin and the role of the SARB.

The interactive features of the app illustrate how to authenticate banknotes and coin, while various animations cover a range of fascinating topics to help users tackle big questions about the economy and currency-related issues.

The multi-levelled mini-game, ZAR Mania, simulates a macroeconomic effect, on both a business and cash-handling level, while dealing with transactions.

The easy to navigate, relevant and engaging content of the SARB Currency App brings the right balance of excitement and learning to its users.

2021 R5 centenary coin  

The SARB’s 100-year history is marked by the date 2021 and, as part of the centenary celebrations, a commemorative R5 coin will be issued as a continuation of the story featured on the two R5 coins issued in 2011, read more below. 



Security features



2021 Centenary commemorative coin booklet

The SARB acts proactively by developing new banknotes to ensure that the country’s money remains among the most trusted currencies in the world. This is done to ensure continued relevance of the design and to incorporate technological advances, ensuring trust is maintained in the currency.

A number of design objectives are considered when designing and developing new banknotes and coin that:

  • are difficult to counterfeit but economical to manufacture;
  • are undeniably South African;
  • can be easily validated and authenticated;
  • are optimised to serve the needs of stakeholders, and
  • optimise usability across the full currency life cycle.


R200 plates ready for printing

The Kruger Rand moulding

The Currency Management Department works with its subsidiaries namely, the South African Mint Company (RF) Proprietary Limited (SA Mint), which mints coins, and the South African Bank Note Company (RF) Proprietary Limited (SABN), which prints banknotes. Both are subsidiaries of the SARB.

The SARB forecasts and calculates annually the volume of banknotes and coin needed to meet public demand. The production and technical teams decide on the technical, quality and security features of the banknotes and coin. The SABN and SA Mint then produce the new banknotes and coin based on the annual order placed.


R100 banknotes sheets in production

The coin cleaning process

The SARB ensures the availability and adequacy of banknotes and coin throughout the country in line with section 10(1)(a)(i)–(v) of the SARB Act. It is responsible for the bulk issuance and distribution of banknotes and coin and for meeting public demand for cash.

The Currency Management Department is responsible for managing and overseeing the cash supply chain, from planning, distribution and issuance, to destruction of cash.

Printed banknotes are transported from the subsidiary to cash centres for issuance to commercial banks. The SARB’s cash centres are located in Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town and are not open for transactions with the public.

Commercial banks hold sufficient banknotes and make them available at their branches and automated teller machines (ATMs), where they can be withdrawn and used for transactions by the public.

What is a central bank digital currency (CBDC)?

A CBDC can be defined as a form of money that is denominated in fiat currency[1] (central bank money), in an electronic form, and which is a liability on the central bank’s balance sheet similar to cash and central bank deposits. In the context of SARB’s current CBDC feasibility study, it could be considered as “smart cash” with unique attributes enabled by its digital form.

The Bank for International Settlements[2] (BIS) defines a CBDC as a purely digital banknote that could be used by individuals to pay businesses, shops or each other (called a "retail CBDC"), or between financial institutions to settle trades in financial markets (called a "wholesale CBDC").


SARB is undertaking a CBDC feasibility study. What is the objective of this study?

The objective of the study is to investigate if it would be feasible, appropriate and desirable for the SARB to issue a CBDC to be used for retail purposes, complementary to cash in South Africa.


Does the fact that the SARB has embarked on a feasibility study imply that the SARB will issue a CBDC?

No. The outcome of the feasibility study will reveal the desirability and appropriateness of issuing a CBDC in South Africa. It will highlight the different CBDC design options and the potential policy and/or regulatory implications associated with these options. The insights gained will inform the decision around whether to pursue the issuance of a South African CBDC. 

Even if the outcome of the feasibility study suggests that the issuance of a CBDC in South Africa may be feasible and/or desirable, it does not necessarily imply that it will be pursued.


What is the difference between a CBDC and cash?

Cash has a physical presence, whereas a CBDC is available exclusively in digital format. The digital nature of a CBDC unlocks potential benefits related to usability for consumers and merchants, safety and security, and traceability of transactions without infringing on privacy rights. CBDC payments and remittances can be made remotely, which is harder to do with cash.


What is the difference between a CBDC and crypto assets such as Bitcoin?

Crypto assets are privately issued (i.e. by a non-central bank) and have a decentralised and disintermediated value proposition (i.e. crypto assets offer a direct, peer-to-peer transactional capability that does not require a financial intermediary, such as a bank). Crypto assets are not a liability on any institution’s balance sheet and unlike a CBDC, they are not backed by any government or centralised authority. Because they are not on anyone’s balance sheet as an obligation to the holder (i.e. the holder has no claim on the issuer as there is no central issuer), the user is potentially exposed to risk. Crypto assets such as Bitcoin are susceptible to large price fluctuations, generally making them less predictable and therefore less suitable as a stable medium of exchange.

The introduction of a more stable type of crypto asset, known as “stablecoins”, addresses the inherent volatility of crypto assets by linking the value of the crypto asset to a fiat currency (such as the US dollar), a basket of fiat currencies (such as US dollar, euro and others), or a traditional asset or commodity (such as gold or oil).

In short, if a CBDC is guaranteed by the issuing central bank, it would be as safe as cash and would have minimal or no counterparty risk. 


If most money exists in digital form, what is the difference between CBDC and money in your bank account?

When money is held in a commercial bank account in a digital form, it represents an amount owed to you by that bank; in other words, it is a claim that you have against the bank. It can typically be withdrawn in its physical form, but only if the bank is solvent. A CBDC, on the other hand, is backed by the central bank and is a liability on the central bank balance sheet, similar to cash. A CBDC with legal tender status would not be a commercial bank’s liability, so you would not have to rely on a particular bank’s solvency to be able to maintain your balance.


What is the difference between wholesale and retail CBDC, and what is the focus of the SARB’s CBDC feasibility study?

The focus of the SARB’s CBDC feasibility study is on a retail CBDC, that is, a CBDC that is accessible to the general public for everyday consumer and merchant commercial activities. By contrast, a wholesale CBDC is typically available only to financial institutions for high value transactions.


What are the key design principles of a CBDC?

The core principles applicable to the design features of a CBDC in
South Africa are as follows:

  • It must be a generally accepted medium of exchange/means of transacting, accepted and trusted by consumers and businesses as legal tender, and complementary to cash.
  • It must be available to and usable by everyone in the South African economy and the financial system.
  • Its value must be pegged at a one-to-one parity with the South African rand.
  • It will be a liability on SARB’s balance sheet and will remain so throughout the distribution chain (similar to cash).
  • It should have the attributes of a generally accepted medium of exchange: it must be divisible, durable, fungible (exchangeable) and portable, and the supply should be limited.
  • Its value must be transferable immediately and irrevocably. 

In addition to these core principles, the following attributes of a CBDC should be addressed in its design:

  • its ability to be exchanged for cash from a commercial bank;
  • its use alongside other means of payment in the financial ecosystem (e.g. debit cards or electronic fund transfers);
  • its strong safety and security measures to protect against counterfeiting and fraud;
  • its ability to allow for improved regulatory reporting and anti-money laundering/combatting the financing of terrorism measures, while still protecting the privacy of the user; and
  • its usability in the absence of connectivity to a network as a contingency measure, albeit with some limits on the value and/or number of transactions.


What are the types of CBDC deployment models?

The CBDC feasibility study will examine two types of deployment models, typically considered globally. These can be summarised as:

  • The account-based model: a third party is involved in holding an account on behalf of an entity (business or consumer) and maintaining debits and credits against the account. The entity has a claim on the third party to the net value in the account. This is similar to a commercial bank account.
  • The token- or value-based model: the value is inherent in the object that an entity possesses. No third party is needed, as transferring the object of value from one entity to another is sufficient to transfer the value. This is similar to physical cash.

The CBDC feasibility study is expected to examine the advantages and disadvantages of both models.


What is distributed ledger technology (DLT)?

A ledger is basically a record system. DLT is a secure digital system for recording the transacting of assets (such as CBDC) in which the transactions and their details are recorded in multiple places simultaneously. This approach offers benefits in terms of resilience (less exposure to a central database failure), as well as safety and integrity through validation of transactions by multiple stakeholders. 


What is blockchain technology?

Blockchain technology is used to facilitate a shared, distributed and immutable ledger. The term “immutable” refers to the attribute of a blockchain that ensures that the integrity of the history of every transaction that has ever occurred can be guaranteed. The name comes from the way transactions are grouped into blocks, verified, processed and stored in a sequence (chain) that is electronically verifiable, which makes it indisputable.

Bitcoin is an example of a crypto asset developed using blockchain technology.


What is the difference between blockchain and DLT?

DLT can be seen as a family of technologies, ranging from distributed databases to tokenisation, while blockchain is one type of this technology.


Will a CBDC have to be implemented using a DLT such as the blockchain?

There is no fixed rule regarding the technology used to implement a CBDC. It is more important that the requirements and design attributes are understood before selecting a technology that solves these needs. However, most existing CBDC projects are based on a form of DLT, or a “blockchain-like” technology.


Can cash and a CBDC co-exist?

Yes. Should a CBDC be issued, the most likely scenario is that it would exist alongside cash, so that people can decide whether they want to use cash, the CBDC, commercial bank money, or some combination of these. Therefore, much the same as physical cash co-exists with money in your bank account, and can be transferred from one form of money to another, a CBDC would provide another option with its own unique qualities.


What is a digital wallet?

A digital wallet can be described as a container (i.e. an electronic device) in which the holder may securely store digital value. Potential consumer devices include chip-embedded cards, smartphones, and a number of emerging dedicated devices incorporating additional security features such as biometric readers or PIN codes.

Digital wallets typically include technologies to interface with point-of-sale devices, such as QR code scanners, near-field communications and other wireless communication technologies, thereby providing a secure means of transacting and transferring value between consumers and businesses.


Is South Africa the only country exploring a CBDC?

No; according to a recently published BIS survey,[1] the year 2020 saw an official launch of a retail CBDC in the Bahamas; it is likely that more will be rolled out soon. Most central banks are exploring the case for CBDCs. Overall, the survey indicates a continuous move from purely conceptual research to experimentation and pilot projects. Yet despite these developments, a widespread roll-out of CBDCs still seems some way off.


 What are the possible advantages of issuing a CBDC?

The CBDC feasibility study will examine the extent to which a CBDC would support a number of outcomes potentially affecting the SARB, the national payment system, as well as consumers and businesses. The study topics include:

  • improving the ability of the unbanked and underbanked to participate in the financial system and thereby also the economy;
  • modernising and optimising the issuance of legal tender;
  • maintaining and enhancing SARB’s ability to ensure price and financial stability;
  • stimulating innovation and competition towards cost-effective and appropriate payment services and products to consumers and businesses; and
  • improving transparency and visibility from a regulatory and crime prevention perspective, while ensuring the privacy of consumers and businesses.


What are the possible risks of issuing a CBDC?

The CBDC feasibility study will consider potential risks and unintended consequences and how these would need to be mitigated. Some of these are:

  • lack of adoption, buy-in and trust from consumers and businesses;
  • operational risks associated with the creation, issuance, distribution, transactional usage and management of a CBDC;
  • reputational risk of an unsuccessful CBDC implementation for SARB, the payment system and South Africa;
  • potential unintended displacement of financial system stakeholders from their roles as intermediaries in the ecosystem, which could impact financial system stability (for example, moving commercial bank money from deposit accounts to a retail CBDC could affect the ability of commercial banks to extend credit to consumers and businesses); and
  • the risk of attacks from hackers and criminals.


Will a CBDC compete with existing methods of payment such as credit cards?

A retail CBDC is not intended to displace or compete with other payment instruments. Rather, it is a potential additional payment instrument with specific attributes and characteristics that make it attractive for certain uses.


[1] Fiat currency is a government-issued currency.


[3] C Boar and A Wehrli, ‘ Ready, steady, go? – Results of the third BIS survey on central bank digital currency.’ BIS Papers No 114. BIS Monetary and Economic Department, January 2021.

There are five denominations of South African banknotes in circulation: R10, R20, R50, R100 and R200. 

All South African banknotes are printed on cotton substrate and can be differentiated from one another by considering the dominant colour, animal theme and size.



Front:Portrait of Nelson Mandela SOUTH AFRICAN RESERVE BANK



Front:Portrait of Nelson Mandela SOUTH AFRICAN RESERVE BANK



Front:Portrait of Nelson Mandela SOUTH AFRICAN RESERVE BANK



Front: Portrait of Nelson Mandela SOUTH AFRICAN RESERVE BANK



Front: Portrait of Nelson Mandela SOUTH AFRICAN RESERVE BANK

All banknotes and coins issued since 1961, by the SARB, remain legal tender in South Africa.
To see these past banknotes, please see The history of banknotes and coin in South Africa.

There are six denominations of South African coin in circulation: 10c, 20c, 50c, R1, R2 and R5. The minting of the 1c, 2c and 5c having been discontinued.

All South African coins are minted on combinations of base metals and alloys and can be differentiated from one another by their size, dominant colour, theme on the reverse, and the ridges, rims and serrations on their edges.


In addition to the above coins, the SARB issues commemorative coins from time to time. For further information on these coins and their value, please see Commemorative Coin below.

All banknotes and coins issued since 1961, by the SARB, remain legal tender in South Africa.
To see these past coins, please see The history of banknotes and coin in South Africa.

R5 coin




The Black Wildebeest or Gnu found in the northern grassveld regions of the Cape, throughout the Free State, KwaZulu Natal and the southern regions of Gauteng. The Black Wildebeest was also depicted on the 2c reverse from 1965 to 1990.

R2 coin




The Kudu, “King of Antelope”, was chosen for the reverse of the R2 coin which replaced the banknote in the 3rd decimal series. The wide spiralling horns are characteristic of the male kudu, which make it one of Africa’s most impressive antelope.

R1 coin



The Springbok, South Africa’s national animal, was first depicted on the silver crown coins from 1947-1951 and 1953-1959. The Springbok was once again chosen for the reverse of the silver 50c (1961-1964), the gold £1 and gold £½ (1952-1960) and the gold R1 and R2 (1961-1964). It was again depicted on the 50c from 1960-1964. From 1977 to 1990, the Springbok appeared on the R1 nickel coins and from 1990 to date, on the smaller R1 in the 3rd series. The Springbok is also depicted on the reverse of our world-renowned Krugerrand.

50 cent coin




The Strelitzia (Crane Flower or Bird-Of-Paradise Flower) first appeared together with the Arum Lily and Blue Agapanthus on the 50c coin (1965-1990) as part of the 2nd decimal series, and alone on the 50c in the 3rd series.

20 cent coin




The King Protea, South Africa’s national flower, first appeared on the tickey and sixpence from 1925 to 1960 and again in the 1st decimal series (1961-1964) on the 2½c and 5c. The Protea was chosen for the reverse of the 20c in the 2nd series (1965-1989) and 3rd coin series.

10 cent coin




The Arum Lily is a distinguished southern African flower. It originally appeared on the 50c coins from 1965-1989. From 1990 onwards it was featured on the 10c coins as part of the country’s 3rd decimal series. In 2012 the plating on the 10c coin was changed from bronze to copper, giving it a reddish appearance.

From time to time, the SARB issues coins to commemorate key events or milestones in South Africa. These commemorative coins are placed into circulation for everyday usage, despite having a design that highlights the commemoration. 

These coins display designs and themes which are different from our normal circulation coins, but despite their limited circulation volumes and intended use as a commemorative circulation coin, they maintain their face value over time.  

Hence, despite the beauty of these coins or emotional connection they might hold to the commemorative topic, they should not be kept with the expectation that they will increase in value.

It is therefore prudent to be wary of anyone offering to pay significant amounts for these coins. 


All commemorative R5 coins that are in circulation retain their value of R5 only.  
The South African Reserve Bank does not buy back circulation coins.

2021 South African Reserve Bank – 100 Year




The coin celebrates the 100th anniversary of the South African Reserve Bank under the theme “ Purposeful Journey” 1921- 2021

2019 Let us live and strive for freedom




This coin celebrates 25 years of constitutional democracy in South Africa and recognises the people of the nation who live and strive for freedom. The long line of voters represents the desire of citizens to participate in shaping the future. 

2018 Mandela Centenary




This coin celebrates 100 years since the birth of Nelson Mandela ( 1918 - 2018).

2017 OR Tambo




This coin celebrates 100 years since the birth of Oliver Tambo (1917 -2017).

2015 Griqua Town




This coin marks the 200th anniversary of the first known currency created in South Africa

2014 20 years of freedom





This coin celebrates 20 years of constitutional democracy in South Africa.

2011 SARB 90th Anniversary





This coin celebrates the 90th anniversary of the South African Reserve Bank.

2008 Mandela 90th Birthday Anniversary





This coin was released in celebration of Nelson Mandela's 90th birthday.

2000 Mandela “Smiley”





This coin was released in 2000 to celebrate Nelson Mandela's historic term as president of South Africa.

1994 Presidential Inauguration




This coin marks the 1994 inauguration of South Africa's first democratically elected president.


These coins display designs and themes which are different from our normal circulation coins, but despite their limited circulation volumes and intended use as a commemorative circulation coin, they maintain their face value over time. 



2020 Freedom and Security of the person




This coin depicts the 25 years of Constitutional Democracy in South Africa.

2019 Children’s rights




This coin depicts the essence of joy, which all children should experience. It reminds us that all children in our nation are entitled to equal protection and should be able to exercise their rights.

2019 Right to education




This coin celebrates the potential of education to transform the lives of people of all ages. The building block, open book and graduation cap represent the importance of early learning, access to quality schooling and higher education

2019 Environmental rights




All South Africans share the right to access unspoiled natural resources. This coin depicts some of the resources we need for our survival, like safe water, food and air.

2019 Freedom of religion, belief and opinion




All South Africans share the right to access unspoiled natural resources. This coin depicts some of the resources we need for our survival, like safe water, food and air.

2019 Freedom of movement and residence




The bird holding a key represents the right of all South Africans to freedom of movement. The taxi and aeroplane show that we have the right to choose our place of residence, to travel and be welcomed home.

It is the responsibility of the SARB to ensure and maintain the integrity of banknotes and coin in circulation. The SARB has to ensure that banknotes and coin remain a secure method of payment, unit of account and store of wealth. Banknotes and coin derive their value from the trust that the citizens have in that country’s currency.

It is important to be aware of the security features incorporated in banknotes in order to identify counterfeit notes. When inspecting banknotes an approach of Look, Feel, and Tilt should be adopted.


By holding a banknote up to the light, the following features can be observed.

Security thread

The security thread is the shiny strip on the front of the banknote, which becomes a continuous solid line when held to the light. The words “SARB”, “Rand”, the denomination and the South African coat of arms should be visible.



The watermark is an embedded image of Nelson Mandela with the denomination.






By lightly running your fingertips over the banknote, the following features can be observed.

Raised print

On the front of the banknote, the portrait of Nelson Mandela and the words SOUTH AFRICAN RESERVE BANK will feel slightly raised or rough.

Visual aid feature

The raised lines on the bottom left and right of the front of the banknote are aids for the visually impaired. The R10 has one line, the R20 two lines, the R50 three lines, the R100 four lines and the R200 five lines.


By tilting a banknote, the following features can be observed.

Security thread

The metallic thread will reflect light and exhibit a slight colour shift.

Colour-changing ink

The numerals on the bottom right of the banknote are printed with a colour-changing ink. The R10 and R20 banknotes exhibit a slight colour shift, whereas the R50, R100 and R200 banknotes appear to have a moving line. If you suspect that you have a counterfeit note, see Counterfeit Notes below.

In terms of section 14 of the SARB Act, only the SARB has the right to issue banknotes and coin in South Africa. Any reproduction of banknote images – even for artistic or advertising uses – is strictly forbidden.

Counterfeit currency are imitation notes or coin produced without the legal sanction of the SARB. Counterfeiting currency and the possession thereof are crimes.

By law, counterfeit notes found in circulation cannot be exchanged for cash, as they have no value. To confirm the validity of a banknote, the approach of Look, Feel and Tilt can be used.

The SARB, the South African Police Service and the commercial banks work together to combat the counterfeiting of banknotes and coin. Members of the public who come into possession of counterfeit banknotes and coin must immediately report it to their nearest police station.

A banknote is deemed mutilated when its condition requires special examination to validate. Such banknotes could be burnt, discoloured, decomposed, or damaged with portions missing.

In terms of section 14(4) of the SARB Act, the SARB is not obliged to make any payment in respect of mutilated banknotes, but will consider the merits of each case. As such, mutilated banknotes may be exchanged at the SARB Head Office in Pretoria or designated commercial bank branches, where the value to be paid will be evaluated against specific criteria.


Mutilated banknotes can also be exchanged at a commercial bank where an individual’s account is held. Designated commercial bank branches will then assess the value in line with the above guiding principles. For a list of designated branches, please see Commercial bank PDF.

A banknote is deemed dye-stained when it displays staining patterns from a currency degradation system.

These devices degrade banknotes, making them unusable and discouraging criminals from stealing them. As these banknotes are considered the proceeds of crime, they have no value and cannot be exchanged.

Dye-stained banknotes should under no circumstances be accepted. Members of the public who unwittingly come into possession of these banknotes cannot claim from the SARB, and are advised to hand in these banknotes at their nearest police station.

Examples of dye-stained banknotes:

Currency protection devices (CPDs) protect banknotes from theft by degrading their integrity, making them unusable.

The SARB regulates the use of CPDs in accordance with the SARB Act. Only CPDs or systems that are tested and formally approved by the SARB may be used to protect cash.

All enquires or applications for testing and requests for approval of CPDs, security ink or any other banknote degradation systems must be directed to:

The SARB has the sole authority to produce and issue banknotes and coin. It also has sole discretion to give or refuse permission to reproduce images of its currency.

Entities or persons who would like to reproduce images of the currency can only do so under specific approved circumstances. The images must not be reproduced with the intention of misleading or defrauding the public, and must maintain the dignity of any national symbol.

More details on the guidelines for reproducing banknotes can be found here.

Images in this gallery are available for non-commercial use only. They can be used and reproduced provided the following conditions are met:

  • the photographs are reproduced accurately and without alterations;
  • the SARB is identified as the source; and
  • its use does not contravene the SARB Act or the policy on the reproduction of images of the South African currency.

The SARB provides support, education and awareness on banknotes and coin to the public.

In collaboration with relevant stakeholders, the SARB runs ongoing public engagement programmes at taxi ranks, malls, schools and community gatherings. The team also conducts public awareness in Common Monetary Area countries, where the rand is legal tender.

Members of the public or organisations who wish to invite the SARB delegates to their area for awareness and training at no cost, can contact us at: +27 12 313 4713 or

When receiving banknotes from the bank or shops, should I check them?

Most definitely. Members of the public are advised to check the banknote's security features before accepting them.


Do banknotes carry germs?

Like any other surface that large numbers of people come into contact with, banknotes can carry bacteria or viruses. However, the risk posed by handling a banknote is no greater than touching any other common surface, such as handrails, doorknobs or credit cards.


Can I exchange foreign currency at the SARB?

No. The SARB will only accept and exchange South African currency.


Can I sell my R5 circulation coin to SARB for more. If yes, for how much?

No, all circulation R5 coins retain their respective face value of R5 only. The SARB does not buy back currency from members of the public.


Is there a possibility of the value of the R5 coin increasing?

No, circulation coins will always retain their respective face value irrespective of their date of issue.


What is a counterfeit note?

A counterfeit note is an imitation of a banknote produced without the legal sanction of the government. Producing or using counterfeit notes is illegal and a form of fraud.


What should members of the public do in the event of detecting counterfeit banknotes or coin?

Such banknotes or coins should be reported to their nearest police station.


Can I exchange counterfeit notes for genuine banknotes?

No, counterfeit notes have no value and cannot be exchanged for genuine banknotes.


What should I do when I have information of counterfeit scams or notes?

Any information about counterfeit notes operations should be reported to the nearest police station.


What is a mutilated banknote?

A banknote is deemed mutilated when its condition requires special examination to consider the value, if any, to be paid. Such banknotes could be burnt, discoloured, decomposed, damaged with portions missing and/or contaminated.


Where can I exchange my mutilated (damaged) banknotes?

Mutilated/damaged banknotes can be exchanged at a commercial bank branch where a member of the public holds an account. Alternatively they can be exchanged at the SARB Head Office during weekdays.


Do I require permission from the SARB to reproduce or use images of the South African currency?

Yes. All reproduction images of South African currency should be approved by the SARB before use.


Will my reproduction of images permission last forever?

No. Approval of reproduction is granted for a particular period only.


Do I need to have the word “SPECIMEN” printed on my reproduction?

Yes. All approved reproductions should reflect the word “SPECIMEN” on them.


Which banknotes are considered “old” series banknotes?

When the Reserve Bank issues a new series of banknotes, the previous issues remain legal tender but are referred to as “old” series banknotes.


Where can I exchange my old series banknotes?

At the designated commercial bank branch where an individual’s account is held or at the SARB Head Office in Pretoria.


Will there ever be a time that old series banknotes will be worth more than their face value?

No. Old series banknotes retain their respective face value and cannot be sold for a higher value.


What is a dye-stained banknote?

Dye-stained banknotes are banknotes that are stained by permanent inks used in currency protection devices to secure banknotes in automated teller machines (ATMs), safes and during transportation of cash.


How do I identify dye-stained banknotes?

When a banknote is stained by the activation of the currency protection devices, the staining ink penetrates the banknote and leaves traces which are normally more pronounced on the edges of the banknote and in some instances the banknote is completely saturated by the staining ink.


Can I transact with dye-stained banknotes?

No. These banknotes are not fit for circulation and they will not be replaced for value.


What should I do if I have withdrawn a dye-stained banknote from an ATM?

If the dye-stained banknote came from an ATM, you must immediately report it to the relevant bank.


What should I do if someone offers me a clearly ink-stained, partly-stained or a bleached/discoloured banknote?

You should always refuse to accept dye-stained notes and notes that are not whole. Only accept clean banknotes and banknotes that are not damaged.

Central bank digital currencies
Learn morn about the frequently asked questions on digital currencies