Euro banknotes are produced using sophisticated printing technology. They also have a number of prominent security features, which make them easy to distinguish from counterfeits without using special equipment and which act as a deterrent to counterfeiters.

Counterfeit Analysis Centre

The ECB closely monitors advances in printing and reproduction technologies, as well as the number of counterfeits seized. The counterfeits are analysed by the central banks of the euro area and the ECB’s Counterfeit Analysis Centre, which coordinates technical and statistical information on counterfeits. The information stored in the centre’s database is shared with national police forces and other bodies involved in combating counterfeiting. The ECB also works closely with Europol (the European Police Office), which has been designated as the central office for coordinating the protection of the euro, as well as with Interpol (the International Criminal Police Organization) and the European Commission.

Preventing illegal use of digital banknote images

Anti-counterfeiting technologies, supported by the Central Bank Counterfeit Deterrence Group (CBCDG) of 10 of the world’s major banknote issuing authorities, deter digital counterfeiting and, by preventing the production of counterfeit banknotes, reduce the losses to individuals and business that might receive them. The counterfeit deterrence system consists of anti-counterfeiting technologies that prevent personal computers and digital imaging tools from capturing or reproducing the image of a protected banknote. It prevents the unauthorised reproduction of banknotes. For legitimate purposes, however, high-resolution images of banknotes are available from the ECB.

To maintain and enhance the euro’s integrity as a global currency, the ECB also manages, coordinates and funds banknote research and development activities.