What to do if your cash was burnt in the bushfires

Pictured: Burnt Australian banknote. Image: Getty
If your money has been burnt in the bushfires, there are steps you can take. Image: Getty

Australians with banknotes damaged by the unprecedented bushfires have been told to seek support from their local bank branches to seek reimbursement.

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) said Australians can submit damaged banknote claims, after which the RBA will determine the value of the damaged notes and provide compensation.

How do I do this?

You need to collect all the cash debris and place it in a plastic bag labeled ‘bushfire’.

Australians were also encouraged to submit the accompanying ‘Incomplete/Badly damaged/Contaminated Australian Banknote(s) Claim Form’.

Then, take the bag and the form to your local bank which will help you make the claim.

“We can help you if your banknotes have been partially or completely destroyed. The RBA will analyse the banknote debris you send us, determine the value and reimburse you the assessed amount for the money you have lost,” the RBA said.

How does the RBA assess the value of money lost?

The RBA considers notes damaged if they have small holes, worn ink, tape or staples, tears, missing pieces, graffiti or heat damage.

Do you have banknotes that look like this? Image: Getty
Do you have banknotes that look like this? Image: Getty

For banknotes considered incomplete, or which have a significant part missing, the bank will provide reimbursement based on the amount of the bank notes that remains.

It is determined in this way:

If less than 20 per cent of the banknote is missing:

Full face value is paid.

If between 20 and 80 per cent of the banknote is missing:

Value is paid in proportion with the percentage remaining, e.g. $5 value for half of a $10 banknote.

If more than 80 per cent of the banknote is missing:

No value is paid.

However, banknotes that are considered badly damaged or contaminated, such as those affected by bushfires, will be assessed in a slightly different way.

“The Reserve Bank pays value for badly damaged/contaminated banknotes based on the visual assessment of a banknote,” the bank explained.

“If part of a banknote remains, the value is determined on the same basis as for incomplete banknotes.”

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