For a long time now Australia has had one
of the lowest counterfeiting rates in the world. One of the reasons for this is the different security features that we have on our banknotes,
which make it harder for a counterfeiter to copy them.
But even the best security feature won’t work if it isn’t checked.
Here’s one easy and effective test you can do. Most counterfeits in Australia are printed on paper, not plastic.
This means they will tear easily compared to our genuine banknotes.
Also, our genuine banknotes don’t crumple the same way paper counterfeits will.
But there are other important checks you can do too. Another really easy test is to look at the clear windows in our banknotes.
First, make sure that the window doesn’t look like it’s been stuck on, or joined on.
In a genuine banknote the window is continuous with the rest of the note.
Second, look to see if the window is a bit cloudy. On a genuine banknote the window should be clear. On all of our banknotes there is also a white image incorporated into the clear window.
On the genuine $50 banknote the image is the Southern Cross.
The stars of the Southern Cross will always be clearly printed, with four seven-pointed
stars and a single, smaller five-pointed star. Make sure that you can’t easily rub the white
image off. Here’s another interesting feature.
Diamond-shaped patterns printed on each side of the banknote, should combine perfectly
to form a seven-pointed star, inside a circle. You can see this when you hold the banknote
up to the light. And, while you’re there, you can also see
the shadow image of the Australian Coat of Arms. Australia’s banknotes also include raised printing, called intaglio print.
Rub your finger over the portrait and over the numeral and you’ll feel the texture.
Our banknotes also contain micro-printing, which is very small text that most of us need
a magnifying glass to read. And you can see that the serial numbers on
our banknotes glow under ultraviolet light. Some banknotes don’t have the name printed
under the portrait but this doesn’t mean that they’re counterfeit.
The names were added to Australian banknotes from 2002 to help the public identify the
people on them. So you’ll see genuine banknotes in circulation
with names printed under the portrait, and some without.
Another feature of our banknotes is that you can tell which year they were printed.
The first two numerals of the serial number, for example 99, means the banknote was printed
in 1999. 03 means the banknote was printed in 2003.
So with this information you should be able to quickly and easily tell the difference
between a real banknote and a counterfeit. But if you do have a counterfeit, here’s what to do. First, handle the suspect counterfeit as little
as possible and store it in an envelope – because it may be needed by the police for evidence.
Also record as much relevant information as you can, such as how it came into your possession.
You should also report the matter directly to the police!
But under no circumstances should you do anything that may jeopardise your safety or the safety
of others. So there it is! Now you know how to check
whether you have a counterfeit, and what you should do if you think you have one.
If you want more information about Australia’s banknotes, visit the Reserve Bank’s website
or give us a call.