May 22, 2024
Learn what to do with ripped money including exchanging it at the bank, repurposing it for DIY projects or artistic uses, making repairs, and taking precautions to prevent further damage.


Have you ever found a ripped dollar bill or torn coin in your wallet or purse? It happens to the best of us, but it’s important to know what to do with ripped money. Not only is it still considered legal tender, but there are also creative ways to repurpose it and prevent further damage. In this article, we will explore the do’s and don’ts, how to exchange ripped money at the bank, creative ways to repurpose it, the history behind ripped money being legal tender, and tips for mending ripped money and preventing further damage.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Dealing with Ripped Money

Before we dive into the nitty-gritty of what to do with ripped money, it’s important to know what you should and shouldn’t do when handling it.

Why You Shouldn’t Throw Away Ripped Money

First and foremost, you should never throw away ripped money, even if it’s just a small tear. According to the Federal Reserve, damaged currency is still considered legal tender as long as it’s more than 50% intact, meaning you can still use it, spend it, and even try to exchange it at the bank (which we’ll cover in more detail later).

What to Do with Ripped Bills

If you have a ripped bill, the first thing you should do is tape it together with clear tape. However, be sure to only tape the edges and not the actual text or design on the bill. This will make it easier to trade in at the bank later on. It’s also important to mention that if you have more than 50% of the original bill, you can still use it as legal tender.

Handling Ripped Coins

If you have a torn or heavily scratched coin, it may not be worth its face value anymore. However, that doesn’t mean it’s completely useless. Some collectors are interested in damaged coins or may be willing to trade for it.

How to Exchange Ripped Money at the Bank

If you have a significant amount of ripped money, you may want to consider taking it to the bank to exchange for new bills. The process may vary depending on the bank, but the basic steps tend to be the same.

Explanation of the Process

First, you have to sort your money by denomination, meaning separate all your ripped ones, fives, twenties, etc. Next, you have to count the total amount of ripped money you have for each denomination. You’ll want to create a tally to speed up the process. Finally, take your ripped money to the bank, show it to the teller, and request to exchange it for new bills of the same denomination.

What the Bank Accepts

The bank will typically accept ripped or damaged bills as long as they’re more than 50% intact. The bank may also reject bills if they’re too heavily soiled.

How to Prepare Your Ripped Money for Exchange

Before you go to the bank, count your ripped money and put it in a bank bag or envelope. Make sure the money is not taped together, other than taping the edges.

Creative Ways to Repurpose Your Ripped Money

Now that you know what to do with ripped money, what about all those old bills you couldn’t exchange? Don’t throw them away just yet! There are plenty of creative ways to repurpose and upcycle ripped money.

DIY Projects with Ripped Bills

One popular way to repurpose ripped bills is to use them in DIY projects. Some ideas include creating origami, paper-mache crafts, or even wall art.

Artistic Uses for Ripped Currency

Another way to repurpose ripped money is through art. Some artists incorporate ripped money into their work, creating unique art pieces that tell a story or make a statement.

Other Ideas for Repurposing Ripped Money

If you’re not into DIY or art, there are plenty of other ways to repurpose ripped money. For example, some people use ripped bills as bookmarks, while others use them as kindling for fires.

The History Behind Why Ripped Money is Still Considered Legal Tender

You may be wondering why ripped money is still considered legal tender. The answer lies in the concept of legal tender itself.

The Origins of Legal Tender

Legal tender is a term used to describe the type of payment that must be accepted by law. In the United States, legal tender is any form of payment that the government recognizes as acceptable, including paper currency, coins, and even certain digital forms of payment.

How Ripped Money is Handled in Other Countries

It’s not just the United States where ripped money is recognized as legal tender. In fact, many other countries have similar laws. For example, in Canada, damaged paper currency can be exchanged for new bills at the bank.

Legal Considerations

While ripped money is still recognized as legal tender, there are some legal considerations to keep in mind. For example, if you intentionally deface or alter a bill with the intent to defraud, you could face legal consequences.

Can You Mend Ripped Money? Advice on Repairing Your Damaged Currency

If you have a small rip in a bill that you want to fix, there are ways to do it. However, it’s important to note that repairing ripped money is only acceptable in certain cases.

When it’s Acceptable to Repair Ripped Money

If your bill is just slightly ripped and you want to keep using it, it’s acceptable to repair it. However, you should never try to sell or exchange a repaired bill.

How to Fix Small Rips

If you want to fix a small rip, start by smoothing out the bill on a flat surface. Then, use clear tape to gently secure the edges of the rip together. Make sure not to tape over any text or design on the bill.

Tips for Repairing Larger Rips or Severely-Damaged Money

If you have larger rips or severely-damaged money, it’s best to take it to the bank for exchange rather than trying to mend it yourself.

How to Prevent Money from Accidentally Getting Ripped in the First Place

While there are ways to repair ripped money, preventing it from happening in the first place is always the best option.

Tips for Handling Money

When handling money, avoid crumpling or folding bills too many times. Try to smooth them out before putting them in your wallet or purse.

Causes of Ripped Currency

There are several factors that can cause money to rip, including: general wear and tear, exposure to extreme temperatures, high humidity, and poor storage conditions.

Precautions to Take

To help prevent money from ripping, store it in a dry, cool place. Avoid exposing it to direct sunlight or extreme temperatures for extended periods of time.


Learning what to do with ripped money is important for handling it responsibly. Whether you choose to repurpose it, exchange it at the bank, or even try to mend it, handling ripped money with care is key. By taking precautions and using creative thinking, you can put your ripped money back to use, or at least rest easy knowing it still holds some value.

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