Checking multiple banknotes?
If you require a fake note detection machine for multiple notes
, please see our range of friction Bank Note Counters
which perform counting and counterfeit detection at the same time.
Buying Advice for Fake Note Detectors
Our counterfeit note detectors fall into 2 main types of money testing equipment:
- Manual Inspection Detectors
Manual inspection fake note detectors include pens, UV lamps, white lamps, measuring guides, magnetic sensors and magnified cameras. They require the operator to be trained and to be aware of the security characteristics of different note denominations. The operator will need to know what marks to look for and where using manual inspection detectors.
These manual fake note detectors (starting from £1.25 for pens) are low cost and can help detect approximately 80% of fake bank notes with good operator training.
The UV lamps are the most popular, but UV is just one of the many security features on a banknote. Some good quality fake notes may have UV marks, so it is better to use automatic equipment which carry out a wider range of security checks.
(Note: Older £50 notes (pre-2011) do NOT have UV marks, so you will need to use other forms of checks to test them such as checking the watermark, the banknote paper, the raised lettering, the foil patch, the metallic thread, the red colouring etc - or use an Automatic Inspection Detector).
- Automatic Inspection Detectors
Automatic inspection fake note detectors automatically and instantly perform a range of security checks on the banknotes. They instantaneously provide a Red or Green light and audible alert to confirm whether a banknote is genuine or to highlight it as suspicious.
These fake note detectors cost a little more, starting from £75 but they carry out more comprehensive tests and pick up 99.99% of fake bank notes automatically with minimal staff training.
Which product range is better?
Obviously, manual inspection detectors carry more risk as they rely on the operators knowledge, concentration and performance. The testing pen or machine performs a limited range of security checks which can pick up most fake bank notes, but not all. In dimly lit and noisy environments such as pubs, bars and clubs, it can be quite difficult and stressful for cashiers to perform proper checks on all banknotes, especially if the establishment is busy and other customers are waiting to be served.
If you are regularly the victim of counterfeit banknotes, we would recommend purchasing one of the Automatic Fake Note Detectors. Just detecting 2 fake £50 notes or 5 fake £20 notes would justify the cost of the machine.
With Automatic detectors, the staff member simply has to insert the note into the machine and check for a Red or Green Light (or an audible warning tone), which is shown within 1 second. They are therefore more reliable, not prone to human error and allow faster checking of banknotes with minimal inconvenience to your customers. Most Automatic Detectors can also show the value of each banknote and accumulate the total for the transaction so you can count the notes and check them at the same time.
Banknote Security Features
How do you spot a fake bank note? Genuine banknotes contain multiple security features. These can include:
- Banknote grade paper
- Ultra-Violet markings
- Infrared markings
- Magnetic Ink
- Magnetic Thread
- Codes on the Magnetic Thread
- Raised Lettering
- Specific Size (width x depth x density)
- Specific shapes or symbols
- Colour of note
- 3D Holograms
- Optically Variable Ink (OVI) Detection
- Spectral Analysis of Ink
The Ultra-Violet light allows marks, threads and picture segments with UV security markings on the banknote and the banknote paper luminescence to be seen.
The infrared facility allows checking of security markings on banknotes that have been made using metameric ink/paint.
In addition, the characteristics of each banknote denomination can be checked as a further measure:
- Size (length, paper thickness and width) of each banknote
- Position, style and content of specific text
- Raised lettering
- Position, size and colours of specific images and graphics
Some fake note detectors may only perform 1 of the above checks. More sophisticated fake note detectors will perform several checks from the above list and hold an internal database of the security features and characteristic of each banknote denomination.
Chemical pens test the acidity of the banknote paper to see if it is genuine banknote paper by applying iodine.
You simply make a mark on a part of the note. If the mark turns brown or grey, the bank note is suspect. If the mark stays clear or light yellow, the bank note is printed on genuine paper.
While this simple and cheap technique would pick up fake banknotes printed on inferior paper, it would not pick up more sophisticated forged money printed on genuine banknote paper from lower-value notes that have been bleached.
Sometimes fraudsters take lower value notes eg. £10 notes, bleach them white, and reprint on them using high quality colour printers with a £20 note image. Some fraudsters have been known to obtain genuine banknote paper or similar quality paper on which they can print onto. Chemical pens will not always pickup such forgeries.
Chemical pens will NOT work on Polymer (plastic) bank notes, which includes the new £5 note that was issued in September 2016, and the new polymer £10 note that will come into circulation in late 2017.
More information on fake note detector pens can be found on this page: Counterfeit Banknote Detection Pens
Ultra Violet Lamps
UV lamps highlight Ultra Violet markings on banknotes. The 4-watt and the 8-Watt fake note detectors from PM Cash are basic UV Lamps. The operator would need to know the number, colours, shapes and positions of the UV markings on the different banknote denominations in order to check if the banknote is genuine.
Under a UV lamp, a genuine banknote will appear dull and the UV marks will be clearly highlighted. A fake banknote may glow entirely, not show any UV marks, have UV marks in the wrong colour, or have UV markings missing or placed in the incorrect position. It is therefore not simply a case of installing a UV lamp - each of your staff would need to be trained to know what marks to look for on each banknote denomination.
£5, £10 notes (old and new polymer) and the new £20 and new £50 notes have UV markings in specific places in specific colours. Your staff need to be trained on each of these - see below.
Good quality counterfeit banknotes have been known to contain UV markings, so even if you can see UV markings and they are all correct, the notes should still be checked with other forms of checking if the counterfeit test is to be 100% effective.
Replacement UV bulbs are available for all the UV lamps we supply. Units are available in different wattage specification. The more powerful the bulb, the clearer the UV markings will be to see.
All our UV lamps use long wave ultra violet light which is safe to use as it operates at 365 nanometres (as recommended by the Bank of England). It is not the same type of short wave ultraviolet light as used on some sunbed machines which can be harmful to health. Our UV lamps have purple filters which prevent exposure to any of the harmful rays.
Ultra Violet Lamps with White Lamps, Magnifiers and Magnetic Sensors
More sophisticated UV lamps, such as the 4-Way Detector from PM Cash, also have a magnifying glass to view microprint and a white lamp to view watermarks. Some also have a ruler to allow measurement of the size of the note and a magnetic sensor. In all cases, the operator would need to be trained to know what microprint text to look for on each type of banknote, the size, content and position of watermarks, and the correct width and height of each banknote denomination.
Remember, older style £50 notes (pre-2011) do not have UV marks or Microlettering so cannot be tested with UV lights or magnifying glasses.
Automatic Fake Note Detectors
Automatic inspection detectors, such as the 155S from PM Cash, are more expensive machines but they carry out a wider range of security checks on the bank notes. They take away the reliance on the operator and prevent human error.
In addition to checking the correct size for each banknote, they can check the paper quality, the UV markings, the watermarks, infrared markings and various other security features. Hence these automatic machines are much more reliable than manual inspection detectors and will pickup 99.99% (manufacturer claims 100%) of fake banknotes and check £5, £10, £20 and £50 notes as well as all Euro banknotes.
Special Note for Scottish & N.Ireland Banknotes
On our automatic fake note detection equipment, counterfeit note checking will not work on Scottish or Northern Ireland issue banknotes - they are only designed to operate on £Sterling notes issued by the Bank of England, on Euros and other specified currencies. Please use the manual inspection equipment for Scottish and N.Ireland issue bank notes.
How to Check Fake Bank Notes
If you are using our Manual Inspection equipment, there are various checks you can carry out on a banknote to test its authenticity.
Please refer to this Bank of England Training Course
to learn about all the different security features of British Pound £Sterling bank notes.
Also visit the Banknote Watch
website for advice on how to spot counterfeit or stolen banknotes. The site includes advice for the public, for businesses and for the police.
Also read: Latest News on Counterfeit Banknotes
Fake Bank Notes Update
Counterfeit Note Detector Machines - Latest News Updates
Future Banknote Changes
With the automatic detection equipment, please note they are programmed to detect the current issue of banknotes for the specified currency.
If new banknotes are introduced or the design is changed in the future, you will need to have the software updated on your equipment and pay the associated update cost and carriage charges (typically £50 to £75), provided you have purchased a unit which is updatable. Some automatic machines can be purchased with an update cable and software so you can simply purchase the new program and install it yourself without having to return the equipment for update.
Discounts are available for volume orders of our counterfeit note detection equipment. Please contact us for a quotation. We supply many national and international chain stores, police forces, retail security organisations and we can ship our note detectors worldwide.