More counterfeit notes in the second half of 2013 – ECB

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More counterfeit notes in second half of 2013 - ECB353,000 counterfeit euro banknotes were withdrawn from circulation in the second half of 2013. This figure is very small considering that there are over 15 billion genuine banknotes in circulation at any one time, the European Central Bank said toda.

Over 75% of the counterfeits are €20 and €50 banknotes. The number of €10 counterfeits increased, but only represented 6.3% of the total.

To stay ahead of counterfeiters, the Eurosystem is today unveiling a new, upgraded €10, the second banknote in the Europa series.

While the new €10 resembles the one first issued in 2002, it has been given a fresh look and has several new and enhanced security features. For example, like the new €5, it includes a portrait of Europa – a figure from Greek mythology and the origin of our continent’s name – in the hologram and the watermark.

Any euro banknotes can be easily verified using the “feel, look and tilt” method.

The euro banknotes remain a trusted and safe means of payment.

In the second half of 2013 a total of 353,000 counterfeit euro banknotes were withdrawn from circulation – 11.4% up on the figure for the first half-year. The number of counterfeits, however, remains very low in comparison with the number of genuine banknotes in circulation during that period (over 15 billion).

Despite this small number, the members of the Eurosystem – i.e. the European Central Bank (ECB) and the 18 national central banks of the euro area – advise people to stay vigilant when receiving banknotes.

Genuine banknotes can be easily recognised using the simple “feel, look and tilt” method described on the euro pages of the ECB’s website and the websites of the Eurosystem national central banks. If a person receives a suspect banknote, he/she should compare it directly with one that is known to be genuine.

If those suspicions are confirmed, the person should contact either the police or – depending on national practice – the respective national central bank.

The total number of counterfeits withdrawn from circulation in the second half of 2013, were: €20 and €50 which continued to be the most counterfeited banknotes. The proportion of counterfeit €20 notes increased and that of counterfeit €50 notes decreased. Together, they accounted for 78% of the counterfeits;

The number of €10 counterfeits rose, but this denomination still only comprised 6.3% of the total; and

Most (98.0%) of the counterfeits were found in euro area countries. Only around 1.5% were found in EU Member States outside the euro area and 0.5% were found in other parts of the world.

The Eurosystem communicates in various ways to help the public distinguish between genuine and counterfeit notes, and to help professional cash handlers ensure that banknote-handling and processing machines can reliably identify and withdraw counterfeits from circulation.

The Eurosystem has a duty to safeguard the integrity of the euro banknotes and to draw on improvements in banknote technology. The Europa series it is introducing will contribute to maintaining public confidence in the currency. The new series will offer optimal protection against counterfeiting, as the banknotes will be even more secure and durable.

Yves Mersch, member of the ECB’s Executive Board, today unveiled the new Europa series €10 banknote, which follows the new €5 banknote, issued on 2 May 2013. The other banknotes in this series will be introduced gradually over the coming years.

Like the first series of euro banknotes, the new €10 banknote will be very easy to check manually and visually, using the “feel, look and tilt” method. In addition to the portrait of Europa in the hologram and the watermark, the notes include an emerald number, which changes colour from emerald green to deep blue when tilted.

The €5 and €10 banknotes of the Europa series are more durable as they have a protective coating. This means that the banknotes will need to be replaced less frequently, thus lowering costs and reducing the impact on the environment. Over time, the Eurosystem will gradually upgrade all the euro banknotes in ascending order.

Photograph – New €10 note.

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