Counterfeiting occurs when someone imitates a real product, or in this case, money. In Canada it is illegal to make reproductions of any currency. The Bank of Canada is responsible for issuing Canadian currency and is constantly updating security features to prevent counterfeiting from occurring. There are two different types of notes currently in circulation in Canada; the Polymer Notes and the older Canadian Journey Series Notes. Both have exceptional security features that are reliable and easy to check for counterfeiting. Use the below guides to check your cash:

Canadian Polymer Notes

The Polymer Note Series has security technology that makes them extremely difficult to counterfeit and very easy to verify.

What should you feel, look and flip for?

There are nine enhanced security features on the polymer notes to check against counterfeiting:

nine enhanced security features on polymer notes

Feel:

  1. Raised Ink: The ink is raised on the large number of the denomination ($5, $10, $20, $50, $100), the shoulders of the portrait (Queen or Prime Minister) and on the words "Bank of Canada" and "Banque du Canada."

Look:

  1. Large Window: There is a large window containing a metallic portrait and building, look for transparency through the window.
  2. Metallic Portrait: Make sure that small portrait in the window matches the large portrait on the note.
  3. Metallic Building: Tilt the note to see sharp colour changes in the metallic building in the large window.
  4. Small Numbers: In the window you should see small numbers that match the denomination of the bill, match these numbers to the large number on the note. Some of these numbers will appear backwards.
  5. Transparent Text: The word "Canada" located in the window will appear transparent and feel slightly raised.
  6. Maple Leaf Border: There should be maple leafs bordering the large window, some of these leaves even cross over into the window.
  7. Frosted Maple Leaf Window: There will be a large maple leaf located above the large number on the front of the note. Make sure that it has a frosted outline and that it is transparent.

Flip:

Flip over the bill to see that all security features located in the large transparent window are also repeated on the back of the note.

  1. Hidden Numbers: There are hidden numbers located in the large maple leaf with a frosted outline. They match the denomination of the note.

Canadian Journey Series Notes (Paper Money)

The Bank of Canada is no longer producing paper currency and is replacing it with polymer bank notes, but the Canadian Journey Series of paper notes will continue to be legal tender. Here are some of the security features:

security features

  1. Metallic stripe – Tilt the bill, and brightly coloured numbers and maple leaves will "move" within the shiny, metallic strip. Colours will change through the various shades of the rainbow.
  2. Ghost Image – Hold the bill to the light and a small, ghostlike image of the portrait appears to the left of the large number.
  3. Dashes – Hold the bill to the light, and a continuous, solid line appears. From the back of the note, the woven dashes of the thread shift from gold to green when the note is tilted.
  4. Puzzle number – Hold the bill to the light and, just like two pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, the irregular marks on the front and back will form a complete and perfectly aligned number.
  5. Raised ink – Slide your thumb or fingers over the bill to feel the raised ink on the portrait (particularly the shoulders), large number, and other areas of the bank note that are thicker to the touch.
  6. UV feature – Hold the bill under a UV (ultraviolet) light to look for the text BANK OF CANADA – BANQUE DU CANADA and the number matching the notes value glow in interlocking red and yellow.

For more information on the security features in Canada's bank notes, visit the Bank of Canada website. The Bank also offers free quick-tip materials that can be ordered online or by calling 1-800-303-1282.