Counterfeit Money Protection: The Role of Banknote Acceptors

To ensure the stability and enhance the security of national economies, it is imperative to adopt a robust approach to counterfeit money protection. Recent reports from the European Central Bank underscore an ongoing battle against counterfeit currency. In 2022, around 376,000 counterfeit euro banknotes exited circulation, highlighting a pressing issue affecting not only the Eurozone but also various parts of the world.

Banknote acceptor in action, ensuring counterfeit money protection and enhancing security in financial transactions.

The Significance of Counterfeit Money Protection

Counterfeiters primarily target the €20 and €50 banknotes, comprising a substantial 75% of all detected counterfeits. These statistics underline the urgent need for implementing vigorous measures and tools to identify and prevent counterfeit banknotes from infiltrating the financial system. Counterfeit currency can inflict significant losses and harm to businesses, consumers, and financial institutions that regularly handle cash, eroding public confidence in the currency and the monetary system.

Central Banks’ Strategies Against Banknote Counterfeiting

Central banks worldwide have embraced a range of strategies. These strategies include designing and producing banknotes with advanced security features, conducting regular checks on the authenticity and quality of banknotes in circulation, certifying banknote handling devices, and collaborating actively with law enforcement agencies and other stakeholders.

    Banknote Security Features

    Public security features include elements integrated into banknotes, deterring counterfeiting, and facilitating straightforward verification by both the public and authorities. These features fall into two primary categories:

    1. Public Security Features: These are elements that anyone can examine without specialized equipment. They include familiar features such as watermarks, holograms, and color-changing ink.
    2. Machine-Readable Security Features: These features can only be detected by specialized machines, like those found in banknote acceptors. They include magnetic properties and patterns visible under ultraviolet light.

    Certification of Banknote Handling Devices

    The European Central Bank (ECB) for example, tests and certifies banknote authentication devices and banknote handling machines to ensure that they can reliably detect counterfeit euro banknotes. The devices and machines are tested with the most common counterfeits in circulation at the time of the test. The ECB publishes the test results on its website and updates them regularly. The certification of banknote handling devices is part of the ECB’s framework for the recycling of euro banknotes (ECB/2010/14).

    The Benefits of Banknote Acceptors in Counterfeit Protection

    Banknote acceptors offer various benefits to businesses, consumers and financial institutions preventing them from accepting counterfeit money. One of the leading manufacturers is CI Tech Components AG, specialized in automated banknote handling and counterfeit protection since decades. Its CI Note Line banknote acceptors have several security features against counterfeits, such as:

    • Banknote Tracking: Recording and storing processed banknotes for consistency and security.
    • Suspect Banknote Withdrawal and Traceability: Identifying and tracking suspected counterfeit or unfit banknotes. Withdrawing them from circulation by storing them in the Deposit Cassette.
    • Counterfeit Risk Analysis and Simulation: Analyzing and simulating potential risks of counterfeit currency entering circulation.
    • Cooperation with Central Banks and Federal Police: Collaborating closely with national authorities to prevent and combat counterfeit currency.
    • Central Bank Certifications: Obtaining certifications from central banks, including the ECB, Bank of England, and Bank of Greece, for their authenticity and fitness verification capabilities.
    • Online Download Portal for Currency Templates: Providing a secure platform for customers to access the latest currency templates.
    • Fast Updates for New Counterfeits: Promptly updating currency templates whenever new counterfeits are detected and notifying customers automatically.
    • In-Machine-Staining-Device (IMSD) Inclusion: Allowing for banknote marking in case of theft or robbery.
    • Submodule Monitoring: Continuously monitoring submodule status and performance, reporting errors or malfunctions.


    Effectively countering counterfeit banknotes is pivotal for upholding economic stability and fostering public trust in currency. With central banks enforcing stringent security measures and employing innovative tools like banknote acceptors, such as the CI Note Line, we can safeguard the integrity of our financial systems. These concerted efforts bolster public confidence in currency and assure the steadfastness of monetary systems.

    For further inquiries or additional information about counterfeit banknotes and the role of banknote acceptors, please refer to the FAQs below or contact us at


    1. How do central banks combat counterfeit currency?

    Central banks combat counterfeit currency by designing and producing banknotes with advanced security features, conducting regular quality checks on banknotes, and collaborating with relevant authorities to apprehend counterfeiters.

    1. What are some common security features on banknotes?

    Public security features include watermarks, holograms, color-changing ink, while machine-readable features are detected by specialized machines, like those in banknote acceptors.

    1. How to Detect Counterfeit Banknotes

    To detect counterfeit banknotes, commence by checking public security features such as watermarks, holograms, and security threads. Certain central banks provide guidelines on identifying them. Additionally, consider machine-readable features like magnetic properties and patterns visible under ultraviolet light. Banknote acceptors, such as the CI Note Line, are equipped with advanced sensors to automate this process and deliver reliable counterfeit detection.

    1. What is the role of banknote acceptors in counterfeit money protection?

    Banknote acceptors, like the CI Note Line, use advanced sensors and algorithms to verify the authenticity and fitness of banknotes. They help prevent counterfeit currency from entering the cash cycle by rejecting or retaining suspicious notes.

    1. Are banknote acceptors certified by central banks?

    Yes, many banknote acceptors, including the CI Note Line, undergo certification by central banks to ensure their authenticity and fitness verification capabilities. For example, the ECB implemented the ECB/2010/14 decisions, including Article 5 (Authenticity-Check) and Article 6 (Fitness-Check).

    1. How can I stay informed about counterfeit currency risks and protection measures?

    Stay updated by following your local central bank and OEM supplier, as they frequently provide guidelines and resources for counterfeit currency prevention.

    1. Can banknote acceptors mark counterfeit banknotes for tracking purposes?

    Some banknote acceptors, equipped with In-Machine-Staining-Devices (IMSD), can mark counterfeit banknotes to aid tracking and law enforcement efforts.

    1. How effective are banknote acceptors in preventing counterfeit currency?

    Banknote acceptors equipped with advanced sensors and counterfeit detection algorithms are highly effective in thwarting counterfeit currency from entering the cash cycle. This ensures precision and reliability in counterfeit protection endeavors.


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