Choose Cash for Ultimate Payment Security

calendar iconFeb 14, 2022

Cash is a high-tech product, and central banks use the latest security features on banknotes to enable easy detection of fakes, driving down counterfeiting year on year.

Cash is the most secure form of payment. Notes and coins worldwide are designed with ever more sophisticated features that make them harder to counterfeit and easier to identify as genuine. Korea is the most recent example of a nation announcing new lows in fake banknotes, with the Bank of Korea reporting just 176 counterfeits identified throughout all of 2021, down from 272 in 2020. The Bank of England reported in the first half of 2021, less than 0.0023% of circulating banknotes were counterfeit, while the European Central Bank (ECB) reported a historic low of just 17 fakes detected per million genuine notes in 2020.

The Bank of Canada breaks down the security features of its $10 to help people rapidly identify fakes, citing its distinctively smooth texture, transparent areas, raised ink, colour-shifting designs, and elements that appear to be 3D, but are actually flat to the touch. As with notes from around the world, this sophisticated collection of features is extremely difficult to reproduce, meaning fakes lack the look and feel of real cash.

Alongside harnessing advances in cash technology, central banks employ experts who analyse counterfeit banknotes. At the European Central Bank’s headquarters, for example, devices such as 3D microscopes and ultra-sensitive scales are employed to study developments in counterfeiting and feed this into databases that help police across Europe track down criminal groups, and designers develop new security measures.

The quality of counterfeits is generally quite low. Anyone who has learned to recognise the security features of euro banknotes is likely able to detect them without any problem.
"Eric Languillat, Counterfeit ExpertCounterfeit Analysis Centre, ECB

Special printing processes give banknotes their particular look and feel, making genuine notes easily identifiable by checking visual and tactile features. The Central Bank of Barbados offers an example of how security and accessibility can work together, with its banknotes including tactile marks that challenge counterfeiters while also helping people with visual impairments quickly detect the denomination of a given note.

Last Updated: Feb 13, 2022