Frequently Asked Questions
Why do U.S. coins seem to be in short supply?
Business and bank closures associated with the COVID-19 pandemic have significantly disrupted the supply chain and normal circulation patterns for U.S. coins. While there is an adequate overall amount of coins in the economy, the slowed pace of circulation has reduced available inventories in some areas of the country.
The Federal Reserve is working with the U.S. Mint and others in the industry on solutions. As a first step, a temporary cap was imposed on the orders depository institutions place for coins with the Federal Reserve to ensure that the current supply is fairly distributed. In addition, a U.S. Coin Task Force was formed to identify, implement, and promote actions to address disruptions to coin circulation.
As the economy recovers and businesses reopen, more coins will flow back into retail and banking channels and eventually into the Federal Reserve, which should allow for the rebuilding of coin inventories.
How do I determine whether or not a banknote is genuine?
The best way to determine whether a banknote is genuine is to rely on the security features in the note. An in-depth description of the security and design features in the latest $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $50, $100 notes can be found on this website.
Information about the features of older-design notes can be found under the “Denominations” drop down menu.
What do I do if I think I received a counterfeit note?
If you think you've received a counterfeit note, submit a completed copy of the counterfeit note report form with the suspected note to your nearest U.S. Secret Service field office. For additional information, please visit http://www.secretservice.gov/. International users of U.S. currency should contact local law enforcement, or the nearest U.S. Secret Service field office to report suspected counterfeits.
Do you provide training?
Training and educational materials are offered on the website free of charge. Our online training module is designed for front-line staff who handle cash daily. The module takes approximately 20 minutes to complete and provides users with an overview of U.S. currency, information on security features, and steps to authenticate banknotes.
What are the laws regarding the reproduction and use of U.S. currency?
Federal law permits color illustrations of U.S. currency if the illustration is less than three-fourths or more than one and one-half, in linear dimension, of the item illustrated; the illustration is one-sided; and if all materials used in the making of the illustration that contains an image or part of the illustration is destroyed or erased after their final use.
For more information on the relevant laws and regulations pertaining to the legal reproduction of U.S. currency, please refer to currency image use.
Is my note legal tender? Can I still use older-design notes?
It is U.S. government policy that all designs of U.S. currency remain legal tender, or legally valid for payments, regardless of when they were issued. This policy includes all denominations of Federal Reserve notes, from 1914 to the present. However, a private business, person, or organization is not required to accept currency or coins as payment for goods or services. Private businesses are free to develop their own policies on whether to accept cash unless there is a state law that says otherwise.
For more information on the acceptance and use of Federal Reserve notes at private businesses, please refer to the Federal Reserve Board’s website.
How can I obtain specific notes and coins?
In order to obtain a specific note or coin, we recommend contacting the depository institution you bank with to see if they will honor your request. Federal Reserve Banks provide paper currency and coins only to depository institutions, which then distribute them to members of the public.