Journey to Circulation (2024)

Introduction Design Order Production Issuance Circulation

Before a Federal Reserve note enters circulation, it must pass through four critical steps: design, order, production, and issuance.

All of these steps require close collaboration between the Federal Reserve Board, the Federal Reserve Banks, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Bureau of Engraving and Printing, and the U.S Secret Service.

Journey to Circulation (1)

Step 1


Engraved Printing Plate

U.S. currency begins with the design process, which is an interagency effort between the Federal Reserve, the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Bureau of Engraving and Printing, and the U.S. Secret Service. The Secretary of the Treasury has final approval of designs of Federal Reserve notes.

Keep scrolling for Step 2: Order

Journey to Circulation (2)

Step 2


Federal Reserve Notes

The Federal Reserve Board places an order for currency from the U.S. Treasury Department’s Bureau of Engraving and Printing every year. The order is based on how much currency will be demanded by the public in the coming year and by how much currency we expect Reserve Banks will destroy because the notes are unfit to circulate or because of other factors, such as inventory management or the issuance of a new design.

Keep scrolling for Step 3: Production

Journey to Circulation (3)

Step 3


Off-Set Printing Plate

The Bureau of Engraving and Printing receives the print order and manufactures Federal Reserve notes at its facilities in Washington, D.C., and Fort Worth, Texas. To get a more detailed look of how banknotes are made, Discover more about how banknotes are made.

Keep scrolling for Step 4: Issuance

Journey to Circulation (4)

Step 4


Armored Currency Transport Truck

Reserve Bank Cash Office and Depot Locations

The Federal Reserve Board pays the Bureau of Engraving and Printing for the cost of printing currency and arranges and pays for the transport of the currency from the Bureau of Engraving and Printing facilities in Washington, D.C., and Fort Worth, Texas, to Federal Reserve Bank cash offices.

As the issuing authority, the Federal Reserve Board turns the pieces of paper manufactured at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing into lawful money.

Keep scrolling for Step 5: Circulation

Journey to Circulation (5)

Step 5


A Federal Reserve Bank

Journey to Circulation (6)

Commercial Bank

Federal Reserve Bank cash offices distribute banknotes to the public through depository institutions, such as commercial banks, credit unions, and savings and loans associations.

Federal Reserve Banks are responsible for processing banknotes to ensure that they are genuine and fit for recirculation. If the banknotes are not genuine, Federal Reserve Banks send them to the U.S. Secret Service. If they are genuine and still in good condition, the notes are sent to depository institutions to fill new orders for currency.

Back to Top

Journey to Circulation (2024)


How does each bill get into circulation? ›

Circulation. Federal Reserve Banks process notes to ensure that they are genuine and fit for recirculation. Suspected counterfeit notes are sent to the USSS. The Federal Reserve Banks' cash offices distribute banknotes to the public through commercial banks, credit unions, and savings and loan associations.

How long does a $20 bill stay in circulation? ›

That depends on the denomination of the note. A $1 bill lasts 5.8 years; $5 bill, 5.5 years; $10 bill, 4.5 years; $20 bill, 7.9 years; $50 bill, 8.5 years; and $100 bill, 15 years. Bills that get worn out from everyday use are taken out of circulation and replaced.

How many $100 bills are currently in circulation? ›

Comparing the Value and Volume of U.S. Currency
Paper Currency DenominationValue in Circulation (Billions of Dollars)Number of Bills in Circulation (Billions of Bills)
4 more rows

Is my dollar bill worth anything? ›

Here are three things to look for on your bills if they are worth more than a dollar: The Series date located near the photograph of George Washington must read “Series 2013” The bill must have a “B” Federal Reserve Seal above the serial number.

How does money enter circulation? ›

Federal Reserve Bank cash offices distribute banknotes to the public through depository institutions, such as commercial banks, credit unions, and savings and loans associations. Federal Reserve Banks are responsible for processing banknotes to ensure that they are genuine and fit for recirculation.

Are $2 bills out of circulation? ›

Today, the general public is still largely unfamiliar with the notes because they are not widely circulated and continue to be hoarded. The common misconception that the $2 note is no longer being produced also remains, though $2 notes have been printed since 1862, except for a 10-year hiatus between 1966 and 1976.

Are $50 bills still in circulation? ›

The Federal Reserve's order for $50 bills to be produced in 2024 is less than one-third the total in 2022. But it's usually not new bills that catch the attention of collectors. “Consumers continue to hold a significant amount of cash that may be unlikely to be used for daily purchases,” according to a Fed report.

What is the lifespan of a $100 bill? ›

How long is the lifespan of U.S. paper money?
DenominationEstimated Lifespan*
$105.3 years
$207.8 years
$5012.2 years
$10022.9 years
3 more rows
Mar 9, 2020

Do they still circulate $1000 bills? ›

The United States no longer issues bills in larger denominations, such as $500, $1,000, $5,000, and $10,000 bills. But they are still legal tender and may still be in circulation. The U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing creates U.S. paper currency. Learn about paper money and how to recognize counterfeit currency.

What is the most counterfeit bill in the US? ›

Superdollar. Superdollars, very high quality counterfeit one hundred-dollar bills, were some of the most widely distributed counterfeit American dollar bills and were still being produced after 2007.

What is the most circulated bill in the US? ›

What Is the Most Common Denomination of U.S. Currency? As of 2020, there were 16.4 billion $100 bills in circulation, making it the most issued banknote as well as the highest value bill in circulation.

What is the oldest bill in circulation? ›

The one-dollar bill has the oldest overall design of all U.S. currency currently being produced (The current two-dollar bill obverse design dates from 1928, while the reverse appeared in 1976).

What $2 bill is worth $20,000? ›

Serial numbers

The serial number is the big one. It's printed on the left and right sides of the front of the bill, typically with a letter at the front. “What we look at is fancy serial numbers,” Johnston said. “A serial number '1' for a 1976 $2 bill would be worth $20,000 or more.

Which $2 bill is worth money? ›

Newer versions with a green seal are likely worth face value, but denominations with a red seal have a higher value. And if you are searching for a $2 bill worth a lot of money, the bill would have to be dated pre-1900, with a "very high graded condition," FOX 13 noted.

How does each bill begin? ›

Idea. All legislation begins as an idea. Ideas can come from anyone. The process begins when someone persuades a Senator or Assembly Member to author a bill.

What is the flow of the bills? ›

First, a representative sponsors a bill. The bill is then assigned to a committee for study. If released by the committee, the bill is put on a calendar to be voted on, debated or amended. If the bill passes by simple majority (218 of 435), the bill moves to the Senate.

How many of each bill are in circulation? ›

In 2022, there was a total of 54.1 billion U.S. dollar notes in circulation, almost one billion more than in the previous year. Out of the 54.1 billion, 18.5 billion were 100 dollar bills, which had the highest volume in circulation. It was followed by the one dollar bill, with 14.3 billion in circulation.

How do bills come bundled? ›

All Notes. A bundle consists of 1,000 notes of the same denomination in ten equal straps of 100 notes each. All strap edges must be vertically aligned into a single organized stack and oriented in the same direction.


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Edwin Metz

Last Updated:

Views: 5661

Rating: 4.8 / 5 (58 voted)

Reviews: 89% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Edwin Metz

Birthday: 1997-04-16

Address: 51593 Leanne Light, Kuphalmouth, DE 50012-5183

Phone: +639107620957

Job: Corporate Banking Technician

Hobby: Reading, scrapbook, role-playing games, Fishing, Fishing, Scuba diving, Beekeeping

Introduction: My name is Edwin Metz, I am a fair, energetic, helpful, brave, outstanding, nice, helpful person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.