The rate of fake Euro banknotes was at an all-time low in 2020, according to the European Central Bank (ECB).

Around 460,000 fake notes were taken out of circulation from the total 25 billion banknotes in circulation, 18% less than in 2019. The 500-Euro banknote was removed from circulation in 2020 due to its use in organised crime.

The level of counterfeit bills has declined rapidly since 2009. According to the European Central Bank, twenty- and fifty-Euro banknotes are among the most counterfeited bills.

The ECB has been enhancing the security features on the banknotes in recent years.

Although the counterfeit rate is very low, the Eurosystem (consisting of the ECB and the national central banks) encourages the public to be vigilant. The Eurosystem suggests the public use a  “feel, look and tilt” method to check for fake notes.

This method consists of:

  • feel the patterned print
  • look for watermarks
  • tilt notes to see how they change visually

A genuine banknote will contain all three of the elements listed in this method

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