Counterfeiting is rife. Thanks to advanced technology and ever better printers, as well as more know how it’s more common and also harder to spot. These tips are here to help you
- Check the paper
Later on we will cover £10 and £5 polymer notes. However, first, let’s take a look at how fake paper banknotes can be spotted.
They are printed onto special paper, so you need to ensure that you know how this paper feels.
A real banknote feels cloth-like, whereas a fake note has more paper feel.
- Raised Print
Run your finger over the paper note. If the note it real, then there should be raised print that you feel on places like the words on the front of the note that say ‘Bank of England.’
On the other hand, if it is a counterfeit note, then it will most likely will have a flat feeling all over instead of having a textured feel like the genuine note.
- Check the note’s metallic thread
Every banknote has metallic thread that is embedded into it. It looks like silver dashes on the back part of the £20 and £10 notes (the Bank of England has a page that provides more information on how to spoke a fake 20 pound note).
This is woven throughout the paper – not simply printed on it – so when it is held up to a light it should look like a dark continuous line.
On the front side of £50 notes it looks like bright green dashes.
Actually they are five windows containing images of the number ’50’ and the ‘£’ symbol. The images move down and up whenever the note is moved side to side.
When a note is tilted down and up, the images move from one side to the next, and the ‘£’ symbol and ’50’ switch places.
- Check the note’s watermark
When a genuine note is held up to the light, what you should see is a portrait of the Queen image.
However, when the note is not being held to a light and is flat and you are still able to see the watermark, then most likely it is a fake note.
- Check the quality of the print
The colors and printed lines on genuine notes are sharp and detailed and free of blurred edges and smudges. So be sure to carefully check the detail.
You have a fake on your hands if the quality is messy or poor.
- Check out the hologram
A hologram is located on the foil patch of the £10 paper banknote. When you tilt the note, the image alternates between the note’s numerical value and a brightly colored image of Britannia.
However on the new £20 note, a holographic strip has replaced the hologram.
So there are several foil patches containing alternating holographic images. There are images that change between the figure 20 and a pound sign, while another hologram shows Adam Smith, the famous economist.
- Check underneath an ultra-violet light
If you are handed a banknote inside of a shop, then this method isn’t that handy. However, if you really are determined to figure out whether a note is genuine or fake, then place it underneath an ultra-violet light.
If it is genuine, then its value with be displayed in bright green and red numbers, while in contrast the background is dull.
The newer £50 and £20 notes have green and red flecks spread randomly over the note’s front and back sides.
- Use a magnifying glass
A magnifying glass can be used to closely examine the lettering underneath the Queen’s portrait. This is one of the tools utilised when the Secret Service investigates counterfeit bills. A genuine note has decorative swirls spelling out the note’s value in small numerals and letters.