Personal Finance

What’s notable in your note

Anand Kalyanaraman | Updated on January 22, 2018 Published on November 01, 2015



The security features are tighter in currency notes of higher denominations

When it comes to preventing currency forgery, roles reverse — the cop is constantly trying to keep a step or two ahead of the crook.

To put counterfeiters off balance, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) keeps enhancing the security features on currency notes.

Over the past year, it has introduced three new features on the higher denominations — ₹100, ₹500 and ₹1,000.

These are ascending size of numerals in the number panels, bleed lines, and larger identification marks. (See ‘New features’.)

Exploding font

In the new pattern, the numerals in both the numbering panels of the note, on the bottom and top right, increase in size from left to right while the first three alpha-numeric characters remain constant in size.

This feature, known as ‘exploding font’, is being rolled out in the ₹50 notes also and is likely be gradually introduced in the ₹20 and ₹10 notes too.

The other new features — bleed lines and enhanced identification marks — add to the note’s security quotient and are also meant to facilitate easy identification by the visually impaired.

So, there are four angular bleed lines in ₹100 notes, five lines in ₹500 and six lines in ₹1,000 denominations on the upper left and the right hand edge of the notes.

Also, the size of the existing identification marks (triangle in ₹100, circle in ₹500, diamond in ₹1,000) near the left edge has been enlarged by 50 per cent.

These new features are in addition to the security markers already present on banknotes. The notes issued in the past will continue to be legal tender even if they don’t sport these new features. Here’s what separates the genuine notes from the fake stuff (See ‘Existing features ’).

Light and shine

See the floral design on the front side left of your note? That’s a see-through register.

In a genuine note, the currency numeral becomes visible when you hold the design to light. There is also a floral design on the note’s back side — this too is a see-through register that fits in with the design on the front side.

Hold it against light, and the mirror image of the currency numeral can be seen.

Next, the white space on the front side houses watermarks of Mahatma Gandhi’s image and the currency denomination. Again, these can be seen when held against light.

Genuine notes use optically variable ink in the prominent currency numeral in the front centre. So, this numeral changes colour when tilted.

The broken thread that runs through the note’s front side also changes colour when tilted, and has ‘Bharat’ (in Hindi), ‘RBI’ and the currency numeral printed on it.

This thread becomes fully visible when seen on the back side against light. Also, the number panels on the front side glow when exposed to ultraviolet light.

Raising the bar

Raised ink printing, known as intaglio printing, also separates a real note from a fake one.

On the note’s front side, ‘Reserve Bank of India’ at the top, the currency value in Hindi letters at the centre, and Mahatma Gandhi’s portrait are printed in raised ink, and can be felt by touch.

The identification mark above the Ashoka pillar portrait is also printed in raised ink. This mark, different for various note denominations, helps the visually impaired identify the note value. It’s now been enlarged for the larger denominations.

There are some hidden gems too. The vertical band to the right of Mahatma Gandhi’s portrait has a latent image of the currency numeral — this can be seen when the note is held at eye level.

That’s not all. With a magnifying glass, you can spot micro-letterings of ‘RBI’ and the currency numerals between Mahatma Gandhi’s portrait and the vertical band.

Finally, the year of printing is mentioned on the reverse of the bank note. But this feature is absent in pre-2005 notes.

The lower security features on pre-2005 notes are one reason why the RBI has mandated that these notes will be withdrawn — the new deadline is December 2015. The security features are tighter in the higher currency denominations.

So, the ₹1,000 and ₹500 notes share all the above features. There is one difference though — only the ₹1,000 note has the currency numeral in the security thread.

Also, in the ₹100, ₹50, ₹20 and ₹10 notes, the currency numeral is not printed in optically variable ink; so it doesn’t change colour when tilted.

Besides, the ₹10 note does not have raised ink, the special identification mark or the hidden image in the vertical band.

Check out the website for all details about genuine currency notes.

Fake notes do not have value. When you give them to the bank, it impounds such notes and you get nothing.

So verify the genuineness of notes, especially the high value ones, before accepting them. Check at least three or four security features.

Mere possession of a fake note does not attract punishment, but possession of a note knowing it to be fake and intending to use it as genuine is punishable under the law.

So, if you unfortunately end up with a fake note, don’t try to palm it off — that’s a criminal offence.

Hand it over with disclosures to the police or to the bank.

Published on November 01, 2015
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