Euro banknote counterfeiting at historically low level in 2021

  • 2022-01-28
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN – Some 347,000 counterfeit euro banknotes were withdrawn from circulation in 2021, a decrease of 24.6 percent when compared with 2020, the European Central Bank said on Friday.

Of the counterfeit euro banknotes withdrawn from circulation during 2021, 180,000 were withdrawn in the second half of the year.

The 347,000 counterfeit euro banknotes withdrawn from circulation in 2021 represent a historically low level in proportion to banknotes in circulation.

Twenty-euro and 50-euro notes continued to be the most counterfeited banknotes, jointly accounting for about two-thirds of the total. In total, 95.4 percent of counterfeits were found in euro area countries, while 4.2 percent were found in non-euro area EU member states and 0.4 percent in other parts of the world.

The ECB said there is little likelihood of receiving a counterfeit, as the number of counterfeits remains very low in proportion to the number of genuine euro banknotes in circulation. In 2021, 12 counterfeits were detected per one million genuine banknotes in circulation, which is a historically low level.

Low-quality reproductions are continuously withdrawn from circulation. Counterfeits are easy to detect as they have no security features, or only very poor imitations of them. The public does not need to be concerned about counterfeiting, but should nevertheless remain vigilant.

Everyone can check their notes by using the simple "feel, look and tilt" method described in the dedicated section of the ECB’s website and on the websites of the national central banks of the euro area. The Eurosystem also helps professional cash handlers by ensuring that banknote-handling and processing machines can reliably identify counterfeits and withdraw them from circulation.

The Eurosystem has a duty to safeguard the integrity of euro banknotes and to continue improving banknote technology. The second series of banknotes -- the Europa series -- is even more secure and is helping to maintain public trust in the currency.