Don't get caught out - know your banknotes
When trying to authenticate a banknote, look for as many genuine security features as possible and never rely on looking for only one feature when deciding on whether a banknote is genuine.
Take your time, particularly if light conditions are poor or you are handling a large number of notes.
Feel the note in your hands and look at it closely: if you have any doubts, compare it to one that you know to be genuine.
Remember, remain vigilant and do not rely on just one feature, check a few.
Find out more about the security features below.
Where can I find more information on banknotes?
You can find more information on Banknotes from the:
the Association of Commercial Banknote Issuers (ACBI)
What denomination of banknotes do the authorised banks issue?
See what denominations are currently issued by each of the authorised banks and find out more about the design and security features of each note.
When should I check banknotes?
It is a good idea to check your banknotes whenever exchanging them with someone to ensure they are genuine.
It is especially important to be careful in situations where you cannot see the notes clearly.
What type of ultra-violet lamp should I use?
A UV lamp that emits light at around 365 nanometres is ideal for checking the fluorescent features on all notes.
We advise against using LED (Light Emitting Diode) devices, such as key-fob style detectors, as these often emit light above 365 nanometres.
What is a detector pen?
When applied detector pens leave a dark line on most counterfeit notes; if the note is genuine, the pen leaves no mark.
We recommend that you mark a suspect banknote diagonally from corner to corner.
Be careful as old or dirty pens can be unreliable.
What should I look out for on £1 coins?
One of the hardest parts of a coin to fake is the milling (lines) and lettering around its edge.
• The lines should be evenly spaced and the same depth, with the wording on one pound and two pound coins cut in a regular way with a clear font.
• There are specific messages around the edge, dates on the coin and images on the tail side for each issue. These should all be correct.
• The design on both the front and back of a coin should be in the exact middle, and the date should match the design.
Coins can become discoloured, worn and scratched - so these are not necessarily signs of a fake.
If you are concerned, a quick trick is to hold the coin by the edge, and rotate it from heads to tails - the Queen's head and the tail design should be perfectly aligned.