How to differentiate between a real and fake Indian currency note?

Fake or counterfeit currency is a global concern, and India is not an exception either. Fake currency is utilised for several illegal purposes, including drug trafficking, terrorism, and other criminal activities. Have you ever wondered how to differentiate between a real and a fake Indian currency note? Well, there are a few means that help you let the cat out of the bag.

If you are worried about the fake currency note that may reach your hands almost inadvertently and you are made a scapegoat for a crime, you did not commit, you need not worry. The Reserve Bank of India has implemented several security features that make it easy to differentiate between real and fake currency notes.
note security feature
It has been over six years since the Reserve Bank of India introduced a new range of currency notes for circulation. With the new design, these notes have also been released with a new set of security features. Let us explore these security features and find how to differentiate between counterfeit and fake notes.

Security Features of Real Indian Currency Notes:

The Reserve Bank of India has introduced several security features in the currency notes that make it difficult to counterfeit. These few features include watermarks, variable ink, security threads, micro lettering, see-through registers, and latent images.

Let us check out a few of these security features and learn how to read them to differentiate real notes from fake ones.

1. Intaglio printing

Intaglio printing refers to the printing that shows up as a raised effect. You can just run your finger on the note to feel it. A few specific parts of the note have an intaglio printing to help you identify it. The feature is also designed to identify the currency and the right denomination for the visually impaired.

The sections or parts that are printed in intaglio mode would include the portrait of Mahatma Gandhi, guarantee and promise clause, the Reserve Bank seal, Ashoka Pillar Emblem on the left, and RBI Governor's signature.. The intaglio print should be sharp and clear. Any note that has felt printing is fake. This security feature is used in the notes with the denominations of Rs.20, Rs.50, Rs.100, Rs.500 and Rs.2000.

2. The security thread

The security thread refers to the vertical thread inserted into the currency note. You will find it changing the colours when the note is tilted. It also has the denomination of the note printed on it.
security thread
If you find the security thread does not change colour when tilted, it is definitely a fake note. The colour should change from blue to green when you tilt it. Zooming in on the security thread should reveal RBI and Bharat ('भारत') written on the security thread. When you hold it against the light, the security thread on Rs.2000, Rs.500 and Rs.100 can be seen as one continuous line.

3. Check out the micro-lettering

Micro-lettering is a feature that is visible only under a magnifying glass. The micro lettering should be sharp and clear. Even when the lettering is microscopic, it should be easily readable under a magnifying glass.
If you find the micro lettering fudgy, you hold a fake note.
The micro-lettering will include RBI, भारत, India and the denomination of the note written in sharp and extremely small letters. Micro lettering is almost impossible to replicate and has been one of the strong security features. The micro lettering feature is seen in all the notes right from Rs 10 to Rs 2000.

4.. See through registers

The authentic note will have a see-through register at the extreme left side of the note. The see-through register will showcase the denomination of the note and varies across the denominations. This feature is also called Latent image. You need to hold the note horizontally at eye level to be able to see the latent image.

The see-through register can be seen only when the note is held at an angle at your eye level. The image should be visible clearly. The note is fake if you see the image fudgy or there is no see-through image visible.

5. Water mark

The watermark should be visible clearly when the note is held against the light. The watermark will include the portrait of Mahatma Gandhi, which is visible when the note is held against the light.
In the recent notes, you would see the portrait of Mahatma Gandhi and the denomination of the note visible when you hold the note against the light. If the watermark is missing or if you find the watermark to be fuzzy, you can conclude or at least suspect that the note in your hand is fake.

6. Color shifting ink

The note's denomination will shift colour when the note's position changes. In most cases, the colour is changed from green to Blue.

The ink used here is also called Optically Variable Ink. The colour appears green when the note is held flat but would change to blue when the note is held at an angle. If you find the colour of the denomination does not change, the note can be assumed to be fake.

7. Check the print quality

The print quality of the note should be crisp and clear. The colours should be bright, and the lines should be sharp.
If the colours look a little pale, it may be a cause for concern. If you find the printing in any part of the note to be not much clean and sharp, the note is likely to be fake.

8. Check the quality of the paper

If you have handled a good number of notes, you would be well versed in the feel that an original currency note provides you. That should explain why accountants, shop keepers and bankers are known to have a knack for identifying the notes just by a touch.

The paper used in the printing of currency notes is not ordinary paper. It is a cotton paper with a composition of 75% cotton and 25% linen.

9. The identification mark

The identification mark is used to help the visually impaired identify the note and its denomination. This is found to the left of the watermark window. The identification mark is different in the currency notes of different denominations.
You will find it in multiple shapes across the denominations like Rs. 20 in Vertical Rectangle, Rs.50 in Square, Rs.100 in Triangle and Rs. 500 in Circle.

10. Flouroscense

The number panels in the notes come with a fluorescent printing. In addition to fluorescence printing, the notes have optical fibre. This makes it easy to identify against the specific light.
The fluorescence in ink and the optical fibres can be seen when the note is held against an ultraviolet lamp. The fluorescence is visible on the serial number and the RBI emblem.

The Parting Thoughts

Those were a few of the security features the Reserve Bank of India added to make it easy for the counterfeit notes to be identified. If you carefully observe the above steps, you will find it rather easy to detect a counterfeit note from an original note.


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