Fake money that looks and feels real: It's Not as Difficult as You Think



1. Finding a fake paper or polymer note

Polymer ₤ 5 and ₤ 10 notes have totally replaced paper notes since 2018, while this year has actually seen the release of polymer ₤ 20 notes into flow.

All notes will be polymer by the end of 2021, when the Bank of England anticipates to have provided a ₤ 50 polymer note.

But with paper notes still in circulation and polymer notes having extra safety features to make them harder to fake, what should you be looking out for to spot if your money is phony?

Initially, let's take a look at how to spot a fake paper banknote. If you're specifically thinking about identifying phony plastic notes, scroll directly to point 8.

These are printed on an unique product, so make certain you examine how the paper feels.

A real banknote has a cloth-like feel, while a fake note will feel more like basic paper.

₤ 50 banknote (Image: Bank of England).

2. Raised print.

Run your finger throughout the paper note and if it's real, you should be able to feel the raised print on areas such as the words 'Bank of England' on the front.

If it's a fake, the note is unlikely to have a textured feel to it and will feel flat all over.

3. Inspect the metal thread.

A metallic thread is embedded in every paper banknote.

This looks like silver dashes on the back of paper ₤ 20 and ₤ 50 notes (see more information on finding phony paper ₤ 20 notes on this Bank of England page).

The thread is woven through the paper-- not just printed on-- so when you hold it up to the light it should appear as a continuous dark line.

This appears as bright green dashes on the front of ₤ 50 notes.

Each dash is actually a window which contains images of the '₤' symbol and the number '50'. When the note is tilted from side to side, the images move up and down.

When the note is tilted up and down, the images move from side to side and the number '50' and '₤' sign swap locations.

4. Inspect the watermark.

If you hold an authentic note as much as the light, you must see a picture of the Queen's portrait.

However, if you can still see the watermark when the note is flat and not held up to the light, it's most likely to be a dodgy note.

5. Examine the print quality.

The printed lines and colours on real notes will be detailed and sharp and devoid of spots or blurred edges. So ensure you inspect the detail thoroughly.

If the quality is poor or messy, you have actually obtained a phony!

6. Check under ultra-violet light.

This isn't so useful if you've just been offered a banknote in a shop, but if you're truly identified to discover whether your note is phony or authentic, put it under ultra-violet light.

If it's the real deal, its value will appear in bright red and green numbers while the background will be dull on the other hand.

The paper ₤ 20 Buy fake money and ₤ 50 notes also have brilliant red and green flecks randomly spread out over the front and back of the note.

7. Utilize a magnifying glass.

Use a magnifying glass to look closely at the lettering underneath the Queen's portrait. On a genuine note, ornamental swirls spell out the worth of the note in small letters and numerals.

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