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Verifying Banknotes and currencies


Usually, every country ensures that the banknotes are designed to be difficult and time consuming to copy. Top and secure companies are contracted to print (Mint) national currencies at agreed fees by the Nation’s top Bank. In most cases it is referred to as the Central Bank. In some nations, it is referred to as the Federal Bank.

Special and unique materials are often used in making bank notes. Some are made with papers, others with polymer. For example, the UK pounds have polymer notes also. There are currently four denominations (values) of circulating Bank of England note: £5, £10, £20 and £50. The current £5 and £10 notes are printed on polymer while the £20 and £50 are printed on paper.

Every banknotes have security features embedded in them. These features is placed to increased its genuineness and prevent counterfeiting. Some of the features can be identified by touch, others by sight. In some cases you need to hold the notes up close before you can see these features. For other features they can only been seen using a special light (under ultra-violet light). In some countries, special watermarks are included in the graphic features. Again, a metallic thread is always embedded in every banknote.

Examine the numerical (numbers) in the Bank note. Do they look similar in size and font with the ones found in a note of similar denomination?

Again, it should be noted that every note has a unique serial number. One of the ways of verifying or checking the authenticity of a banknote would therefore include that note having its own unique number. No two bank notes should have the same serial number.

Examine the portrait in the currency note. Check if it looks the same with other notes with similar denomination value.

Verification of currency notes also include checking if the notes are damaged or destroyed beyond recognition. Take extra care to verify if the note has the feel or texture similar to others of the same denomination.

Verification can also be done in the bank. Go to the nearest bank in the locality and make enquiries at the customer desk about your concerns. Show the Bank official the copy of the Bank note and ask for his/her professional opinion.

It is advisable that citizens ensure that they don’t put into circulation any counterfeit banknotes as it can be subject to criminal prosecution.

In many countries, counterfeit bank notes brought to the Bank can be confiscated without the rights to regain them or replace by the customer.

It is one of the responsibility of the Central Banks of every country to educate their citizens on the ways to verify or identify genuine bank notes issued by the apex bank in that country. The Bank of England offers to educate the Public on how to identify the bank notes. See here for the information on the training.

There are  applications also now fully developed that contains full details of the security features on all banknotes, together with a range of other useful advice and information about our banknotes. Click here for  Bank apps. information for Most Banks in England.

 You can learn more about the view of the colour, shapes, views and texture of most of the world's currency here

Coins are also used as currencies. They are also made up of special metals designed for duration and for acceptability. Coins can also be faked. Thus there are also ways of verifying the authenticity of these coins. These include checking the special engagements in the coins, the image in the coins, the weight of the coins and the shape of the coins.


In the UK, The coin is usually referred to as the penny. Plural (pence) there are 100 pence (p) to the pound (£). Coins come in 1p, 2p, 5p, 10p, 20p, 50p, £1 and £2.

The above general rules or ways of varying banknotes and coins applies in almost all countries. In the United States, the currency is the bank notes are known as Dollars, and the coins as cents. In Nigeria, the bank notes are called Naira, and the coins as kobo. Etc. The central Bank of Nigeria controls all aspects relating to the minting and quality o the naira.

You can get  more information about verifying the  authenticity of the American Dollar here.

Learn more here how the Canadian dollar bank notes can also be verified and checked for authenticity. There are useful information needed to prevent counterfeiting and use of fake bank notes. 

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