Banknotes and coins

Cash cycle

The Banco de España, as a national central bank in the Eurosystem, participates in the issue of euro banknotes and, on behalf of the Spanish government, puts euro coins into circulation.

It distributes euro banknotes and coins to its network of branches and cash depots for their subsequent release into circulation. Cash depots, created in order to achieve a more effective flow of banknotes, and in operation since March 2005, are the Banco de España's storage centres for banknotes, spread throughout Spain.

Credit institutions withdraw banknotes and coins from the Banco de España to meet the public's cash requirements, using cash transport companies.

Members of the public withdraw cash for their daily needs from credit institutions' counters and mainly from ATMs. Merchants and members of the public pay cash into credit institutions over their counters and, to a lesser extent, using cash deposit machines.

Credit institutions in turn pay in the cash received from the public to the Banco de España, again using cash transport companies.

The Banco de España performs a filtering function for the cash cycle, ensuring that banknotes and coins kept in circulation are in good condition and withdrawing counterfeit banknotes and coins.

The process of counting, classification and destruction of banknotes

The Banco de España, in common with the other national central banks in the Eurosystem, ensures that the quality and condition of the banknotes in circulation are such as to allow and facilitate economic exchanges. Banknotes paid into the Banco de España are therefore subjected to an exhaustive process of counting, analysis, expert assessment, selection and classification before finally being packed and sealed for subsequent release into circulation if they are considered of good quality and suitable for use, or for destruction if their condition is not considered good enough.

In any case broken or torn banknotes or banknotes that are soiled, worn or marked or have lost any of their original characteristics, are not put back into circulation.

The process referred to above is known as "fitness sorting" and is carried out in the regional sorting centres located in the branch offices of the Banco de España by means of high-technology sorting machines which enable banknotes to be sorted, packaged and even destroyed with a high degree of automation.

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