Businesses in our sector face numerous challenges, one of which is safeguarding against counterfeit banknotes. The Bank of England recognises this concern and offers a robust solution: The Banknote Checking Scheme. This scheme is designed to equip businesses with the necessary tools and knowledge to detect counterfeit currency, thereby reducing financial losses and upholding reputational integrity.

Key Facts about the Banknote Checking Scheme

  • Free Training: The scheme provides businesses with free training materials to educate staff on banknote authentication at the point of sale. This includes comprehensive staff training materials and guidance on handling counterfeit notes.
  • Support and Resources: Upon joining the scheme, businesses receive a welcome pack containing essential resources, such as window stickers and physical copies of training materials. Additionally, they gain access to a regular newsletter keeping them updated on banknote news and best practices. Furthermore, businesses will have a designated point of contact at the Bank of England for any inquiries or concerns.

Reasons to Join the Scheme

  1. Comprehensive Training: The scheme offers a welcome pack with detailed training materials, empowering businesses to educate their staff effectively on banknote authentication.
  2. Community Support: By participating in the scheme, businesses contribute to reducing the circulation of counterfeit banknotes in their communities, thus preventing criminals from funding illicit activities.
  3. Regular Updates: Members receive regular newsletters providing updates on banknote developments, including information on the upcoming King Charles III banknotes expected to be issued in mid-2024, along with best practice advice and counterfeit news.
  4. Direct Support: Businesses have direct access to a contact at the Bank of England for assistance with any counterfeit or banknote-related inquiries.

Joining the Banknote Checking Scheme is a proactive step towards enhancing your business's security and protecting against financial losses due to counterfeit currency. To enrol in the scheme, click here.

Best Practices for Banknote Checking

The Bank of England emphasises two primary security features for checking banknotes: the hologram image change and the see-through window. These features are consistent across all denominations of polymer banknotes and are essential for detecting counterfeits.

  • Hologram Image Change: By tilting the note from side to side, businesses can verify the holographic image changes between the denomination value and observe the metallic image over the window, ensuring authenticity.

In addition to primary checks, secondary security measures like UV checks can be used alongside primary checks for added assurance.

What to do in case you receive any Counterfeit Notes

In the unfortunate event of receiving a counterfeit banknote, it is crucial to have a clear company policy in place to guide staff on appropriate actions. Counterfeit banknotes hold no value and cannot be reimbursed. Suspected counterfeit notes should be reported to the nearest police station, where they will be further examined.

For instances where investigation is not pursued or circumstances are deemed non-suspicious, counterfeit notes can be returned to the Bank of England using the appropriate forms.

King Charles III Banknotes: What You Need to Know

Anticipated to be issued by mid-2024, banknotes featuring the portrait of King Charles III will maintain the same security features as existing polymer banknotes. These new banknotes will replace worn notes and meet increased demand while minimising environmental and financial impacts.

The King's portrait will appear on all denominations (£5, £10, £20, and £50), ensuring continuity in banknote authentication procedures.

For more information on the upcoming King Charles III banknotes, click here.