Eurosystem revamps EUR10 note to tackle counterfeiters

Source: European Central Bank

353,000 counterfeit euro banknotes were withdrawn from circulation in the second half of 2013. This figure is very small considering that there are over 15 billion genuine banknotes in circulation at any one time.

● Over 75% of the counterfeits are €20 and €50 banknotes. The number of €10 counterfeits increased, but only represented 6.3% of the total.

● To stay ahead of counterfeiters, the Eurosystem is today unveiling a new, upgraded €10, the second banknote in the Europa series.

● Any euro banknotes can be easily verified using the "feel, look and tilt" method.

● The euro banknotes remain a trusted and safe means of payment.

In the second half of 2013 a total of 353,000 counterfeit euro banknotes were withdrawn fromcirculation - 11.4% up on the figure for the first half-year. The number of counterfeits, however,remains very low in comparison with the number of genuine banknotes in circulation during thatperiod (over 15 billion).

The half-yearly trend is shown below:









No. of counterfeits








Despite this small number, the members of the Eurosystem - i.e. the European Central Bank(ECB) and the 18 national central banks of the euro area - advise people to stay vigilant whenreceiving banknotes. Genuine banknotes can be easily recognised using the simple "feel, lookand tilt" method described on the euro pages of the ECB's website and the websites of theEurosystem national central banks. If a person receives a suspect banknote, he/she shouldcompare it directly with one that is known to be genuine. Iuine. If those suspicions are confirmed, theperson should contact either the police or - depending on national practice - the respectivenational central bank.

The table below provides a percentage breakdown, by denomination, of the total number ofcounterfeits withdrawn from circulation in the second half of 2013.









Percentage Breakdown








During that period:

● the €20 and €50 continued to be the most counterfeited banknotes. The proportion ofcounterfeit €20 notes increased and that of counterfeit €50 notes decreased. Together, theyaccounted for 78% of the counterfeits;

● the number of €10 counterfeits rose, but this denomination still only comprised 6.3% of thetotal; and

● most (98.0%) of the counterfeits were found in euro area countries. Only around 1.5% werefound in EU Member States outside the euro area and 0.5% were found in other parts of theworld.

The Eurosystem communicates in various ways to help the public distinguish between genuine and counterfeit notes, and to help professional cash handlers ensure that banknote-handlingand processing machines can reliably identify and withdraw counterfeits from circulation. TheEurosystem has a duty to safeguard the integrity of the euro banknotes and to draw onimprovements in banknote technology. The Europa series it is introducing will contribute tomaintaining public confidence in the currency. The new series will offer optimal protection against counterfeiting, as the banknotes will be even more secure and durable.

Yves Mersch, member of the ECB's Executive Board, today unveiled the new Europa series€10 banknote, which follows the new €5 banknote, issued on 2 May 2013. The other banknotesin this series will be introduced gradually over the coming years.

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