How Do I Know If Money Is Counterfeit?

There are many security features incorporated into euro banknotes that make them difficult to recreate. Many of these features can be checked manually using the Feel-Look-Tilt test.


  • The paper is crisp and firm
  • The paper will have raised ink areas on the front of the note.


  • Hold the note up to the light and look for watermarks (see-through areas of the note):
  • Architectural design similar to the main design of the note
  • A number watermark underneath
  • Barcode watermark in the centre (Euro Series 1 notes only)
  • Europa portrait (Euro Series 2 notes only).
  • Security thread down the centre of the note with perforations of denomination
  • Perforations in the holographic foil showing the denomination, euro symbol and Europa portrait (Euro Series 2 notes only)
  • See through number at the top left of the note (Euro Series 1 notes only).


  • The holographic stripe or patch will change images and colours
  • The iridescent stripe on the back of the lower denominations will shine and fade (Euro Series 1 notes only)
  • The opti-variable ink covering the numeral on the back of the higher denominations will change colour (Euro Series 1 notes only)
  • The emerald number in the bottom left corner on the banknote’s front side displays an effect of the light that moves up and down. The number also changes colour from emerald green to deep blue (Euro Series 2 notes only).

Using UV lamps, detector pens and authentication machines

Ultraviolet (UV) lamps

A UV lamp which emits light at around 365 nanometres is ideal for checking the fluorescent features on all our notes. We do not advise using LED (Light Emitting Diode) devices, such as key-fob style detectors because these often emit light above 365 nanometres.  Some counterfeiters do attempt to copy UV features, so make sure your staff know exactly what to look for, such as the colours we use in the UV numbers.

Detector pens

Detector pens don’t spot counterfeits printed on polymer. They work by reacting with the starch present in ‘normal’ paper. They can detect some counterfeits printed on paper, but not all. If you do use one, remember old or dirty pens can be unreliable. We advise checking more than one security feature.

Note Counterfeit Detecting Products 

CSNA Deals Partner Memotech are the current providers of note counterfeit detecting equipment for CSNA members. To enquire more about their range of note checking products please contact them on 041-9814126.

What to do if you suspect you have a counterfeit banknote or coin?

If you believe you are in possession of a suspect counterfeit you are obliged to submit it to your local financial institution, the Gardaí, or the Central Bank’s National Analysis Centre (NAC) or Coin National Analysis Centre (CNAC). A receipt should be obtained to confirm your submission of the suspect counterfeit as no refund will be given at this time.

What next?

If the banknote or coin is deemed genuine value will then be given through your local institution where you received the receipt of lodgement. If sent to us at the Central Bank, a letter will be issued acknowledging the submission. If the suspect item is subsequently deemed genuine the Central Bank will contact you to arrange reimbursement.