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The Lifespan of U.S. Currency

When currency is deposited with a Federal Reserve Bank, the quality of each note is evaluated by sophisticated processing equipment. Notes that meet our strict quality criteria - that is, that are still in good condition - continue to circulate, while those that do not are taken out of circulation and destroyed. This process determines the lifespan of a Federal Reserve note.

The lifespan of Federal Reserve notes varies by denomination and depends on a number of factors, including how the denomination is used by the public. For example, larger denominations such as $100 notes are often used as a store of value, which means they pass between users less frequently than lower-denominations such as $5 notes, which are more often used for transactions.

Denomination Estimated Lifespan
$1 5.8 years
$5 5.5 years
$10 4.5 years
$20 7.9 years
$50 8.5 years
$100 15.0 years

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