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Newest notes from around the world – how central banks device new ways to make counterfeiting onerous

Last Updated on October 30, 2019 by Mr. FightToFIRE

The practice of counterfeiting notes is as old as the production of the notes themselves. With every change a government or institution made to its money, counterfeiters imitated it.

Before introducing paper money, coins were being counterfeit by mixing base metals with gold. Later, with the introduction of paper money/notes in China (1), which they made from mulberry wood, counterfeiters would try to get the same wood at the risk of being sentenced to death.

To protect against this forgery, Central banks improve their bank notes by bringing out new designs for their notes containing increasingly more security features.

Scattered pile of bank notes from around the world

Advanced anti-counterfeit features

A prime example of these innovative security features are the new Australian dollar notes. The introduction of new legal tender started with the $5 note. With this new note, the central bank of Australia introduced a new set of counterfeiting measures.

Some of these features are:

  • Polymer material, instead of paper
  • A (top-to-bottom) window
  • Rolling color effects
  • A 3D effect
  • A transparent image
  • “animated” image
  • Reversing number
  • Raised print

You can see these new features in the image of the new 50 note below. Take a good look and see if you can spot the various additional countermeasures. Of course, some of them can only be found by touching the new note or by holding it against a light.

Most banks around the world are in the process of implementing the same or similar features into their new notes.

However, like in the past, it’s likely not a matter of ‘if’, but ‘when’ this new legal tender will have well-made counterfeit counterparts.

New notes around the world

Australian Dollar

On 15 February 2018 the Reserve Bank of Australia, frequently abreviated to RBA, released the new $50 note containing the security features introduced by the $5 note.

New front of the Australian 50 bank noteNew back of the Australian 50 bank note

New front/signature and back side of the A$50 note – Copyright Reserve Bank of Australia


The European Central Bank, or ECB for short, introduced its new note design with the 5 EUR note which was brought into circulation on 2 May 2013. The most recent unveiling is the 50 EUR note. It went into circulation on 4 April 2017.

Specimen of the new front of the 50 Euro noteSpecimen of the new back of the 50 Euro note

New front and back of the €50 note – Copyright European Central Bank

Norwegian Krone

The Norwegian Krone got a new series of 100 and 200 Norwegian Krone on 30 May 2017. Unlike the Australian Dollar and Euro the old notes will become invalid on 30 May 2018, exactly 1 year after the introduction of the new series VIII.

New front of the 100 Norwegian Krone bank noteNew back of the 100 Norwegian Krone bank note

New  front and back of the 100 Krone note – Copyright Norges Bank

British Pound

The Bank of England, or BoE for short, brought the new polymer £10 note, featuring Jane Austen, into circulation on 14 September 2017. Just like the Krone, the £10 note will not be accepted as legal tender anymore after a short transition period. However, for the Pound it will go faster. After 1 March 2018 it will not be possible to spend them in shops or restaurants. Your only option afterwards is exchanging them at a bank, building society or Post Office.

New front of the 10 Pound bank noteNew back of the 10 Pound bank note

New front and back of the £10 note – Copyright Bank of England



I'm a developer for a major financial institution in Belgium that is present in over 40 countries. I have over 8 years of working experience in the development of customer applications focussing on all aspects of banking. This helped me gain a deep understanding of the inner workings of a commercial bank. All of this experience in both banking and life culminates in this blog about personal finance and my fight towards FIRE.

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