Ink-stained banknotes are illegal to use


The South African Reserve Bank (SARB) has warned the public to be cautious of accepting banknotes that have been stained with traces of blue or green ink.

The warning comes in the wake of numerous automated teller machines (ATM) having been damaged and destroyed during the days-long civil unrest in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal, where several businesses were looted and gutted.

In a statement, the SARB warned that stained banknotes are considered “proceeds of crime” and have no value and cannot be exchanged.


“Members of the public are therefore strongly encouraged not to accept such banknotes, and to report such incidents to the nearest police station,” said the central bank.

“ATMs are equipped with technology to stain banknotes in case of attack. This process of protecting the banknotes defaces them so that they carry no monetary value for people who invade ATMs,” it said.

Police warning advertisement against stained notes

For further information, the public was urged engage the SARB Currency Management Team by email at; by telephone at 012 313 3270; or online at

To learn more about the country’s currency, members of the public are encouraged to download the recently revamped SARB Currency App, which is available on the App Store and Google Play Store.


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