Testing of banknote authentication devices

Purpose

In order to support manufacturers of counterfeit detection devices in their endeavours to develop and enhance their products, the national central banks (NCBs) of the Eurosystem offer manufacturers of counterfeit detection devices, or their appointed agents, the possibility of testing such devices using a wide range of representative counterfeit euro banknotes. The European Central Bank publishes information on the devices tested in order to help banknote users to choose from the devices available.

Counterfeit detection devices may help retailers and other users of euro banknotes in detecting counterfeits, but they cannot entirely replace the user's own considered opinion based on the banknotes' security features (see information on the security features of the euro banknotes).

Each device is tested by an NCB, in accordance with a common Eurosystem procedure, to check its ability to:

  • correctly detect counterfeit euro banknotes contained in a test deck of counterfeit banknotes (the “counterfeit test”);
  • correctly identify genuine euro banknotes contained in a test deck of genuine banknotes (the “recognition test”).

The purpose of the tests is not to determine whether a device is user-friendly, safe, durable, easily serviceable, etc.

Scope

These tests are offered only for “auto-detection devices”. Auto-detection devices are those that indicate, by means of a visible or audible signal or a text-based display, whether the checked banknote is found to be genuine or not.

The authentication device types eligible for testing can be categorised as:

  • stand-alone single note authentication devices with a single note input (no batch processing) - Category 1a;
  • banknote acceptor modules with a single note input (no batch processing) for integration into machines such as vending machines – Category 1b;
  • batch processing devices for counting and authenticating banknotes which are not suitable for testing under Decision ECB/2010/14 (i.e. counting machines without automated separation of suspect banknotes from genuine banknotes) – Category 2.

Verification aids, such as magnifying glasses and UV lamps, which do not automatically provide the result of the authenticity check and thus require the user to decide whether the checked banknote is genuine or not, are not covered by these tests. Moreover, banknote handling machines do not fall within the scope of these tests (see test results of banknote handling machines).

Test procedures

The counterfeit test is conducted using a standardised test deck, which is composed of genuine euro banknotes, representative counterfeit euro banknotes found in circulation and additional documents that have been manufactured by the Eurosystem to reproduce and include certain properties of euro banknotes.

Only types of device which have successfully detected all of the counterfeits in the test deck will be published on the ECB's website. Types of device which fail to pass the test will not be published.

The recognition test is conducted using a test deck consisting of 20 genuine and fit euro banknotes for each series and denomination supported by the relevant device type. Only types of device which have successfully accepted 90% of the genuine and fit euro banknotes in the test deck will be published on the ECB's website, and the percentage of correctly authenticated genuine euro banknotes will be indicated.

Period of validity of the test results

Test results are published on this website within one month of the completion of the test. Given the emergence of new counterfeit euro banknotes and the regular updating of the test deck, information about a tested device will be removed from the ECB's website 12 calendar months after the end of the month of publication, unless the device has successfully been retested either in an annual test or in a re-test on an ad hoc basis by an NCB. Any failure of those tests by a device type or any refusal by the manufacturer to present a device type for a test will likewise result in the prompt removal of information about the device type from the list(s). Any summary test reports that an NCB provides to the manufacturer of a device or the manufacturer's appointed agent are only valid in respect of the test conditions on the date of the test and are only valid while the test results are published on this website.

As new counterfeits exhibiting properties differing from those of the banknotes used in the test may emerge at any time, it should be stressed that the results of the counterfeit and recognition tests published on this website merely reflect the tested device's ability to detect the counterfeits contained in the test deck used for testing on the day of the test (see test results of banknote authentication devices)

Apply to have your product tested

These tests support manufacturers in their endeavours to develop and improve banknote authentication devices. Manufacturers of devices (or their appointed agents) should contact an NCB to apply for (re)testing, which is offered free of charge (see NCB contact list).