The security features of the euro banknotes

2 July 1997

Modern reproduction technology offers the opportunity to produce, even on easily available low-price devices, fairly good copies of any printed picture. Therefore, banknotes need to be very well protected against counterfeiting by using a variety of security features which are especially designed to enhance the possibility of easily recognising counterfeit banknotes.

One of the most important security features is still the special banknote paper containing e.g. fluorescent fibres and a multitone watermark; the imitation of the watermark requires additional work from the counterfeiter because it cannot easily be reproduced either by copying or by printing.

In addition, the euro banknotes will be provided with a number of advanced security features for the public to ensure that they will be at least as well protected against counterfeiting as existing national banknotes.

Among these are paper-based (e.g. security thread), printed (e.g. intaglio printing) and non-print features (e.g. diffractive or reflective foils).

In addition, machine-readable features will be integrated into the euro banknotes to enable the central banks and the vending and note-handling machine industry to verify authenticity reliably.

These security features should enable a person to identify a counterfeit with a minimum of careful attention. The ECB and the national central banks will take great care in making known to the general public the relevant security features of the euro banknotes before and after they are put into circulation.

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