The number of counterfeit notes withdrawn by central banks in the euro area fell further in the first six months of the year. Only about a break on 30,000 is counterfeit.
Already minuscule, the number of counterfeit euro notes seized continues to decline. Since the peak reached in the second half of 2014, with some 507,000 denominations removed from circulation, their number has steadily fallen to near the 300,000 mark in the first half of this year.
These figures are a drop from the 21 billion euro banknotes currently in circulation. Since 2016, the central banks of the 19 countries of the euro zone have withdrawn about 670,000 counterfeit denominations a year, or 0.003% of the notes or about 1 in 30,000.
Unsurprisingly, the cuts of 20 and 50 euros are the most counterfeit, they represent 83% of counterfeit notes withdrawn from circulation. It must be said that these are the most used and most emitted. In the euro zone, more than four out of ten banknotes are 50 euros. In France, however, that of 20 euros is much more popular, it represents more than half of withdrawals and the main cut used to pay.
A ticket lives on average three years
To understand how central banks identify these counterfeits, you need to know the circuit of a ticket. First of all its manufacture, paper on the one hand, in which is already inserted elements of security, then the printing. The Banque de France is the leading paper maker and the first printer in the euro zone, about one out of five bills issued comes out of its sites.
The cuts then go to his branches in the regions. The fund carriers then dispatch them to commercial banks and mass retailers. Thus, the consumer gets euros by withdrawing at the counter or by paying at the cash desk.
Once their sales are completed, the merchants bring back their notes to their bank, which in turn sends them back to the Banque de France to sort them and put them back in the circuit. During this sorting, the counterfeits are identified and removed, the tickets too damaged destroyed.
On average, a ticket takes six months to perform “a circuit tour” and return to the hands of the central bank. Its average life is three years, but it varies greatly according to the cuts: from one year and a half for that of 10 euros to sometimes more than thirty years for that of 500 euros.
How to spot a fake ticket?
Since 2013, central banks have gradually put into circulation a new series of banknotes called “Europa”. They are covered with a varnish that makes them more resistant and extends their life.
They are also more secure: variable ink that changes color depending on the position of the ticket, insertion of additional symbols … many signs have been added to further complicate the task of counterfeiters.
To get yourself to differentiate between a true and a false note, the European Central Bank (ECB) has established a method summarized by the acronym “TRI”: to “touch”, “look” and “tilt”.
Indeed, at the touch, we can feel that the new tickets crack under the fingers when you handle them. One must also feel a relief on the drawn monument. At the level of the glance, by examining by transparency one notices a dark line which crosses the ticket from top to bottom. Finally, by tilting the cut, the brilliant number in the lower left should produce a light effect, just like the portrait of “Princess Europe” on the border.
To have the detail of the method, but also to decode the additional signs, click here.
If you discover that you have been returned a false ticket, it must be reported to a police station or the Bank of France, but it will not exchange it for a real one. Note that if you decide to keep the counterfeit and use it to pay for shopping or an invoice, you risk a fine of 7500 euros.
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