Fake euro notes and coins

How to Spot fake Euro notes and coins

Spotting fake euro notes and coins can be difficult if you don´t know what to look for, here is a guide to help.

Here in Spain to date there are still two types of Euros available and some people mistake the older style to be fake notes, this is not the case both are still legal tender.

New Notes

The above is a NEW 50€ note

Below is the old style

Old Notes}

 The new seriesEuropa series of euro banknotes

The Europa series of banknotes are being introduced gradually over several years. The four first banknotes in the new series, the €5, €10, €20 and €50, started circulating in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2017 respectively. The €100 and €200 were unveiled on 17 September 2018 and will start circulating on 28 May 2019. They will complete the issuance of the Europa series.

The ECB has decided to stop producing the €500 banknote, although the first series €500 remains legal tender.


The new banknotes are called the Europa series because two of their security features contain a portrait of Europa. This figure from Greek mythology was included in the new euro banknotes because it has an obvious link to the continent of Europe and also adds a human touch to the banknotes. The image of Europa was taken from a vase in the Louvre in Paris.

Why new banknotes?

The ECB and the national central banks (NCBs) of the Eurosystem are responsible for the integrity of euro banknotes. That’s why they have developed a second series of euro banknotes with enhanced security features which keep the banknotes secure and maintain public confidence in the currency.

Keeping ahead of counterfeiters

The new euro banknotes benefit from advances in banknote technology. The new security features offer better protection against counterfeiting.

The Eurosystem’s research and development strategy states that euro banknotes need to be “self-defending”, thereby making life difficult for counterfeiters. Banks, professional cash handlers and the public need to be able to recognise counterfeit banknotes; they thus help to support the Eurosystem’s anti-counterfeiting strategy.

Tough and longer-lasting

The new euro banknotes are also more durable than the first series. This means that the banknotes will need to be replaced less frequently, thereby reducing costs and the impact on the environment. That’s important, especially for the €5 and €10 banknotes, as they change hands more often than the other notes.

Parallel circulation of banknotes of the first series and of the Europa series

The first series of euro banknotes will continue to be issued alongside the Europa series of notes until the remaining stocks have been used up. They will then be gradually phased out. The date when the first series of euro banknotes ceases to be legal tender will be announced well in advance. However, the banknotes of the first series will always retain their value: they can be exchanged for an unlimited period of time at the Eurosystem NCBs.

How to spot a FAKE

The new notes should feel crisp, special printing processes give banknotes their unique feel.

Feel the banknote. On the front, there is a series of short raised lines on the left and right edges. The main image, the lettering and the large value numeral also feel thicker, if it feels too smooth it could be a fake.

Look  at the banknote against the light. The portrait window and watermark as well as the security thread become visible.

Tilt the banknote. The silvery stripe reveals a portrait of Europa in a transparent window and the emerald number displays an effect of the light that moves up and down.

Additional features The additional security features of the banknote need to be checked with special devices which all major shops and of course banks have.

Fake Euro notes and coins

What should I do if I suspect a banknote is fake?

If you are handed a banknote and you think it’s fake after using the FEEL, LOOK and TILT method, then it probably is fake and you shouldn’t accept it. If you think you already have a counterfeit banknote, you should immediately inform the police or the relevant national authorities.

It is a criminal offence to pass on a banknote which you believe or know is a counterfeit. Fake banknotes are completely worthless, you will receive no compensation for accepting a fake banknote.

To double-check the banknote, you can also take it to your nearest bank. All banks have special cash handling equipment which can detect fake notes. Try to remember who gave you the banknote and where. This information can be invaluable in helping to track down counterfeiters.

21st June 2019 - A few days ago, in Valencia, five young people between 19 and 31 years old were arrested for trying to pay in a discotheque in the city with fake 50 euro bills. The National Police appeared at the scene and verified how they carried at least four more tickets of the same value. They are accused of counterfeiting money. Also a few days ago and in the Basque Country, a man and two women were arrested for paying for counterfeit money. Finally, an amount of 680 euros in counterfeit stamps was intervened.

FAKE COINS - Always check your change.

Fake/counterfeit coins may be in circulation in the Alicante/Elche area. these can easily be confused with the real 2€ coins as at first sight the fake coins look very similar as the recent reproduction method uses minting techniques similar to those which are used to make the legitimate coins. Although the weight is different (they are much lighter) also, the thickness of the edge and the diameter do not meet the technical specifications of legal tender coins, these also have slight defects on the face and the edge and will sound different when knocked together.

 Fake Euro notes and coins

Not fake as such but check your change as sometimes the South African "Rand" which is only worth cents are passed off as 2€ coins.

 Fake Euro notes and coins

Guardia Civil urge people to check their change as a large number of Egyptian pound coins which are similar in size to the 2 Euro coin are being circulated.  These coins have a face value of around 49 cents.

Other coins to watch out for - Moroccan coins, called dirhams, are equivalent to 50 cents in Europe and resemble those of two euros. In Turkey, the liras that they say are also worth two euros do not reach 32 cents in Europe and, for example, the 20 Jamaican dollars that resemble the 1-euro coins do not reach 13 cents.

Mexican 5 peso coins at a glance they are almost identical to our 2 euro coins, but are only worth 24 cents, meaning you are well out of pocket if fooled!

Remember to check your change.


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Quick tip when you hold real notes up to the light you can see through the little window at the top right, fake ones you can't

Sharon Crosby
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