If your bank rejects any of your currency notes in the Rs 1,000 or Rs 500 denomination on the suspicion of it being fake, you have a right to fight. The problem of fake notes in circulation has assumed serious proportions across the country, particularly in Hyderabad.

But banks have tended to go overboard with their caution and have set off a wave of despair among many customers who unfortunately are at the receiving end.

Many banks are using an Reserve Bank of India advisory on suspected fake notes in some series and are allegedly flatly rejecting them without proper examination. A list of series of notes is pinned up at the teller/cash counters of many bank branches with a tag line, “As per RBI instructions these notes cannot be accepted.”

Interestingly, the list is uniform at all places. It show the series starting from 2AQ and 8AC for Rs 1,000 notes and series starting from 6AB, 6BL, 6CW, 6AV, 7CA, 8BS, 8PQ, 8DC, 8BD, 8DP, 8BF, 9BK, 9AN, 9AR, 9 PN and 9CN for Rs 500 notes. If a customer questions this, some bank staff resort to threats, it is alleged.

“When I questioned the logic behind rejecting three notes in a bunch of Rs 500s, I was bluntly told by the cashier that if they call the police, I would be booked for circulating fake notes,” rues Mr N. Rajiv, an IDBI staffer.

This is probably not an isolated instance. Banks, by their negative approach to the fake notes problem, are doing a much bigger ‘damage’.

The so-called list of fakes has travelled fast to all business and retail establishments, which are refusing to accept these notes. “In the last three months, some Rs 500 notes presented by me were rejected five times in grocery stores, malls and fuel stations,” said a faculty member of the Indian Institute of Technology, Hyderabad.


When contacted, a senior RBI official agreed that an advisory had been issued to the banks.

“We generally do it on the basis of information we get from the police on detected fake note series. But banks cannot reject all the notes in the series mentioned in the advisory. They just need to be extra-cautious,” the official said. Thus, even if the series of your notes matches with those of the one in the advisory, the possibility of it being a fake is actually remote.

Once a fake note is detected, banks need to lodge a complaint with the police with the consent of the customer who brought the note.

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June 2021