The good note guide


We would like to highlight the importance of loading good quality notes into your ATM.

What is a good note?

Uncreased with no nicks, tears, sticky tape or paperclips

Not only will good quality notes ensure that your ATM functions smoothly and without any reversals, but it will also ensure that the number of notes that land up in your reject bin is vastly reduced.

What is a bad note?

  • Dye-stained 
  • Creased and crinkled
  • Nicks and dog ears
  • Torn and ripped
  • Sticky tape and paperclips

In addition, in terms of guidelines issued by the South African Reserve Bank, all merchants who are loading cash into their ATM must follow suitable procedures to assist in maintaining the current high level of South African bank notes. These procedures include:

  • Distinguishing between counterfeit / dye-stained notes and legal notes
  • Distinguishing unfit notes due to defects or soiling

The following characteristics are indicative of a potentially unfit quality bank note:

  • Soiling: General spread of dirt across a note.
  • Limpness: A lack of stiffness or crispness.
  • Dog-eared: Corner folds must be straightened.
  • Tears: Notes with any form of tear exceeding 4mm in width.
  • Holes: Holes that exceed 10mm2.
  • Mutilations: Notes that have been in any way mutilated.
  • Crumpled: Crumpled notes are deemed to be unfit.
  • Dye-stained: Lack of ink on any part of a note – a washed or bleached note.
  • Folded: Notes with folds should be straightened.
  • Graffiti: Deliberate graphical alteration of a note.
  • Foreign objects: Paper clips, elastic bands.

Should you while loading the ATM come across any suspicious looking bank notes that may seem counterfeit or unfit, please see below the options that are available to you:

  • Counterfeit notes should be forwarded to your nearest South African Police Service branch or alternatively call 0860 010 111.
  • Unfit notes should be deposited with the South African Reserve Bank or alternatively call 0861 231 020.

Please also take note of the following important points:

  • You have the right to refuse a bank note which you suspect may be counterfeit. If you by mistake accept a counterfeit note, the value of the note will not be paid to you by SAP /SARB.
  • Old notes (pre 2005) remain legal tender and will continue to be accepted. The features described above apply to the 2005 series notes. If a note doesn’t have all of the security features mentioned above, this does not mean it is counterfeit – it may be a pre-2005 note.
  • Please contact Spark ATM Systems if you are unsure about any matters discussed here and we will gladly assist you.