RBI says banks will have to accept notes with scribbles

A currency note with something scribbled on it makes for a good laugh or two, but it is a pain when you want to get new crisp notes in hand and have to go to the banks to make the change. Lately, a rumor gained strength that the RBI had refused to change notes with scribbles on them – but folks, it is only that; a rumor.

The central bank has made it amply clear that notes with scribbles on them do continue to be legal tender. While the RBI keeps urging people to not spoil currency notes with their random thoughts and musings, and also not to staple or fold currency notes, no bank has been directed to refuse customers wishing to make an exchange.

The rumor mill that refuses to stop

This is not the first time that the RBI has had to dispel rumors concerning currency exchange. In 2014, the bank had issued a circular asking people to continue using their scribbled bank notes without fear. It would seem that the recent trend of internet memes featuring currency notes (Sonam Gupta, we’re looking at you!) has caused this recent hearsay, and social media has been abuzz with it.

The RBI’s clean note policy was first introduced in 1999, when the apex body had asked banks to provide unrestricted facilities to customers for currency exchange. In 2002, the bank issued another policy doing away with the practice of stapling currency bundles and introduced banding, so as to increase the life of the currency notes. Then, in July 2016, the RBI issued a master circular that penalized banks refusing to make currency exchanges, with fines going up to INR 10,000.

We think it’s safe to say the RBI’s fascination for clean notes is not going to be deterred by some choice online jokes! So if your ATM spews scribbled notes at you, don’t worry – just ask for a replacement. The banks at least are not ‘bewafa’ in this matter!

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