More and more countries have been switching towards polymer currencies in recent decades. With polymers improved durability, cleanliness and security capabilities, it really is no wonder! But some of the world’s largest economies have refrained from making the switch, and don’t look like they’ll be making it anytime soon. But how do these countries protect themselves against increasingly sophisticated counterfeiters? Read on for the most secure currencies that aren’t polymer!
1. United States dollar
The US dollar may still be made out of paper, but that hasn’t affected its status as one of the most traded and sought after currencies on the market! But while USD looks to remain paper for the foreseeable future (one cited reason for this being the huge costs involved in converting vending machines to accept polymer notes), that hasn’t stopped it from keeping up with developments in technology.
The new $100 dollar bill incorporates such technologies as raised printing, a portrait watermark, colour shifting ink, and a 3D security ribbon that’s woven into the paper as opposed to being printed on. On top of that, the US banknote is printed on a distinct paper of ¼ linen and ¾ cotton, with security fibers woven in. With all of these features, the new US bill has been lauded as one of the most secure currencies in the world, even when compared to polymer notes.
2. Swiss franc
In addition to their incredibly beautiful and creative design, Switzerland’s most recent series of banknotes also incorporate an impressive number of security features to deter counterfeiting. The Swiss franc is also an excellent example of how liminal currencies are becoming. We may be cheating a little here, because, while the new Swiss franc banknotes are indeed made of paper, they incorporate an inner layer of polymer as well.
Such amalgamations are becoming increasingly common among nations’ currencies. While retaining paper allows for features, like watermarks, distinct to that medium, incorporating polymer provides Central Banks with the best of both worlds, enabling them to incorporate a diverse range of security features. The Swiss franc, for example, includes Iriodin® and perforated digits, microtext and tactile elements.
3. Japanese yen
One of the largest economies in the world, Japan’s currency is also among the top traded. On those grounds, there is a fair amount of pressure on the Bank of Japan to stay up to date with developments in technology.
To date, the Japanese yen has a number of security features to deter counterfeiting. A watermark bar pattern reveals three vertical bars when held up to the light: a quality that is difficult to reproduce with a personal computer. In addition, a latent image and the utilization of luminescent and pearl inks also help to make the yen harder to reproduce.
4. South African rand
With Africa’s second largest economy and most widely traded currency, South Africa and the rand are a significant entity not only in Africa but also on the world stage. While the South African Reserve Bank has not yet made the jump to polymer, it has included a number of cutting-edge security measures to deter unauthorized reproduction.
You can find such features as microprinting (animals are formed with the denomination of the bill, only visible by magnifying glass), security thread, watermark, and a see-through perfect print registration in the shape of one of the country’s iconic fauna all make the rand difficult to counterfeit.
Last on our list of the world’s most secure non-polymer currencies is one of the world’s most traded. The euro will remain paper into the foreseeable future, but both the European Central Bank and Europol have made significant efforts to deter counterfeiting efforts.
In addition to sophisticated printing technology, the euro makes use of a security thread, a hologram doorway, as well as infrared properties that reveal just the far right portion of the bill under infrared light. When it comes down to it, according to the European Central Bank, the best way to decipher a genuine bill from a counterfeit is the simple “feel, look, and tilt” method.
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