Mumbai: In an effort to improve customer service, RBI on Thursday asked banks to exchange up to 20 pieces of soiled currency notes with a maximum value of Rs5,000 over the counter free of charge.

However, if the number of notes to be exchanged is more than 20, banks can levy service charge.

The facility of exchanging mutilated or imperfect notes is available at designated bank branches and also non-chest branches.

“Notes presented in small number: Where the number of notes presented by a person is up to 20 pieces with a maximum value of Rs5,000 per day, banks should exchange them over the counter, free of charge," the RBI said while reviewing for exchange of soiled notes by banks.

In case notes are presented in bulk (where the number exceeds 20 pieces or Rs5,000 in value per day), banks will accept them, against receipt, for value to be credited later. In case of bulk exchange, banks can levy service charges.

If the tendered value is above Rs50,000, banks are expected to take the usual precautions, RBI said.

Further, the RBI also laid down norms for non-chest branches for exchange of soiled notes. Where the number of notes presented by a person is up to 5 pieces per day, non-chest branches should normally adjudicate the notes as per the procedure and pay the exchange value over the counter.