You can walk into any bank to get your pre-2005 currency notes - including Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 denominations - exchanged till January 1, 2015, following a directive by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) asking banks to help the public get rid of old currency notes.
There is no limit on the number of notes that can be exchanged.
The RBI has decided to withdraw the pre-2005 currency notes from circulation and asked the holders of such currency to exchange them by January 1, 2015. The earlier deadline was June 30. Thereafter, people would have had to produce identity proof to exchange more than 10 notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000.
(Also read: Deadline for exchanging pre-2005 notes extended)
In the recently released FAQs, the apex bank said, "Banks have been advised to freely provide this exchange facility to all members of public, whether customer or non-customer." It further said that there is no such restriction on the number of pieces that can be exchanged.
"Banks have been advised to freely exchange these notes till January 1, 2015."
Meanwhile, banks have been advised to stop reissuing the pre-2005 series notes over the counters or via ATMs. Lenders have been asked to forward the pre-2005 notes to the RBI.
It has also clarified that the public "can continue to freely use these notes (pre-2005)" for transactions and can unhesitatingly receive these notes in payment as all such notes remain legal tender.
Post-2005 notes have added security features and help in curbing the menace of fake currency.
The RBI said it will monitor and review the withdrawal and exchange process so that the public is not inconvenienced in any manner.
At present, currency notes are issued in denominations of Rs 5, Rs 10, Rs 20, Rs 50, Rs 100, Rs 500 and Rs 1,000.
How to identify
It is easy to identify pre-2005 notes, as the currency notes issued before 2005 do not have the year of printing on the reverse side. In the notes issued after 2005, the year of printing is visible at the bottom of the reverse side.
Earlier, the RBI had withdrawn a certain series of currency notes at the bank level but bearers were not asked to get them replaced.