New app identifies counterfeit euro notes

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November 26, 2015 – The fact that apps for smartphones can come in quite handy becomes apparent for everybody who has once tried to find his way around a foreign city, for example. For checking the authenticity of a bank note, on the other hand, it always took a good eye. An app for smartphones of the Dutch Central Bank (DNB) now makes checking easy.

Euro bank notes. Photograph: Mayuyero /

Given that Dutch retail banks and DNB intercepted no less than 48,600 counterfeit euro notes in 2014, and the estimated number worldwide amounting to 838,000, such an app is a very useful tool. This is how it works: the bank note in question is put on a flat surface and then scanned with the phone. The mobile automatically checks if the contours are accurate before ascertaining the security features embedded in the note. If the note’s genuity could not be proven beyond doubt, the user is asked to become involved and look for, among other things, watermarks and the hologram. 

The new app is the result of a longer period of technical development: as early as January 2013, the Dutch Central Bank introduced a forerunner at the Optical Document Security conference in San Francisco where delegates were invited to experience the device, which had just reached the working stage, first-hand. The next launch was an app called EuroBiljet, to help the public verify their banknotes, focusing on four features. Downloaded 100,000 times as of now, this app still lacks the technical means to authenticate a note. 

With the latest launch, DNB has now achieved this goal. Free to download, the app is currently only available for the iPhone 5 and later versions while an app for users of the Android platform is forthcoming.

For more information, please read the news published in Currency News from August 2015, Volume 13.

This is the website of the DNB.

And this YouTube movie explains how to use the app.