Have you tried to deposit ₹2,000 notes in a cash deposit machine (CDM) recently? If so, you might have met with a disappointing experience. Many ATM-cum-CDMs of banks have stopped accepting ₹2,000 notes unless they look almost new.

“I deposit ₹20,000 in CDMs every month. The ₹2,000 notes are not being accepted often or only a few are being accepted by the machines on the grounds that the notes are spoiled,” M Seshagiri Rao, a customer of ICICI Bank, told BusinessLine.

Enquiries with customers of other private and public sector banks recall a similar scenario. When contacted, a senior SBI official said, “The notes are expected to be kept in a good shape without folds or any other damages. The machines are programmed to accept only such notes.”

But then, the quality of notes being given by banks in the ATMs are none too new either. “We have noticed issues in the form of ₹2,000 notes in circulation we receive as most of them are old and overused. We can only give what we receive,” said an executive of a large private bank.

Customers who chose to skip the automated CDMs and tried to deposit the notes physically at bank branches complain of long waits as well as transaction fees being levied for depositing it over the counter.

No supply

According to bankers, the problem is due to non-printing/supply of ₹2,000 notes by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). RBI had earlier confirmed the same. As per the information in the annual report, there was no fresh supply of ₹2,000 notes in FY22. Further the printing of the new notes of this denomination has been halted since 2019, nearly three years after its introduction in the wake of demonetisation in 2016.

A source in RBI said the apex bank has put in place a ‘sound’ clean note policy to avoid any problems for the general public. As per the policy, banks are advised to sort out notes and identify soiled notes at various stages which have to be removed from circulation and sent to RBI. They will be subjected to cash verification and processing system (CVPS) which will decide if they have to remain in circulation.

“Any laxity on part of the banks to do so, leads to trouble. There are guidelines for notes to be stacked in ATMs,” he said.

According to RBI data, there has been a steady decline in the ₹2,000 denomination notes. From 2.4 per cent of the total currency notes in circulation in the country, they accounted for only 1.6 per cent in March 2022. In terms of value, they decreased from 22.6 per cent in 2020 to 13.6 per cent in March 2022.

The disposal of soiled banknotes increased by 88.4 per cent to 1,878.01 crore pieces during 2021-22 from 997.02 crore pieces in the previous year.