Why is the Spanish Bank taking back euro coins?

by Lorraine Williamson
euro coins

The Banco de España has begun to withdraw certain one-euro coins from circulation. The reason? The coins are either damaged or counterfeit. Many Spaniards are wondering why this is happening. 

On Thursday, July 6, the official Spanish Official Gazette (BOE) posted Decree ETD/647/2023. This allows the Banco de España to confiscate counterfeit or damaged one-euro coins. Concern appears to be unnecessary; the public will not notice much of the measure. 

The bank reports on its website that coins do not just enter circulation. First, there are “strict quality controls. Still, in exceptional cases, coins can have a “manufacturing defect. That is reason to declare the coin unfit. The coin must be exchanged at one of the bank’s branches. 

Worn coins must be taken off the market. This is necessary to prevent possible problems with recognition, especially by vending machines. The protocol states it must be “prevented from confusing users as to their authenticity. Therefore, on July 1, the collection of coins that do not meet the established requirements began. 

Cogesa Expats

Classification system 

The regulation gives the following classification of 1-euro coins: fit, probable counterfeit and unfit for circulation. The latter are detected, according to the text, because they almost never pass authenticity checks.  

The BOE also reports that over time “a fair amount of counterfeit euro coins have accumulated in the Banco de España. The destruction of these should be regulated. In 2022, more than 25,000 counterfeit coins of all denominations were taken off the market. These coins are generally used for scams and other forms of fraud.  

Also read: Largest production labe of counterfeit banknotes in Europe dismantled

After forty years, procedure replaces old law 

The new regulation replaces a four-decade-old piece of legislation. Until last week, the Banco de España had not established a procedure for the withdrawal and destruction of counterfeit coins. Therefore, the notice in the BOE details what can be done with the remains of these coins. Moreover, the remains of unfit coins can be used to mint new coins. With shorter deadlines, the new procedure ensures that the collection of coins is not delayed. 

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