Recent Visit to Bank of England Sparks New Fears for Counterfeit

Posted by Daniel Jones on

2020 sees the replacement of the old cotton note with the polymer we've already seen in the £5 and £10. While we cannot disclose what the note looks like, we can provide an image of the concept art work. We are among a lucky few that gets an opportunity to order a small batch of the new notes, which allows us to test them on our equipment to ensure we are ready to best help you when they do roll out to general public.

So why the big fear? 

With the release of the new £20 note means that there are a lot of counterfeit notes out there that some people are going to be desperate to get rid of. So now is no better time to be vigilant when it comes to accepting cash in your business. 

There are plenty of ways you can check if notes are genuine. One of the quickest ways to detect fraudulent notes is a simple UV check. There are loads of cost effective solutions out there depending on your individual budget, and we would be more than happy to find an affordable and effective solution for your business...

The new £20 will include the following features:


  • JMW Turner’s self-portrait, painted circa 1799 and currently on display at Tate Britain.
  • One of Turner’s most famous paintings, The Fighting Temeraire. This was a tribute to the ship HMS Temeraire, which played a distinguished role in Nelson’s victory at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.
  • The quote ‘Light is therefore colour’, a reference to his innovative use of light, shade, colour and tone from a lecture Turner gave in 1818.
  • Turner’s signature from his Will, in which he left many of his paintings to the nation.

Here are 8 things you can look for to identify whether your £20 is genuine or if it is a fake

1. Check the watermark

When held up to the light, you should be able to see a portrait of the Queen along with a '£20' that's brighter than the surrounding paper.

2. Check the holographic strip

The strip on the note should have foil patches that contain alternating holographic images. When you tilt the note, one hologram shows a multi-coloured image of Adam Smith while the other alternates between a multicoloured £ sign and the number 20. The number 20 is also embossed on the strip and should appear just to the right of the Chief Cashier's signature.

3. Check the paper and raised print

The note is printed on special paper - check if the note feels right. You should be able to feel raised print on the words Bank of England and around the number 20 in the bottom right corner.

4. Check under a UV light

Under an ultra-violet light, the number 20 on the front of the note should appear in bright red and green. Random speckles of red and green should also appear on the front and back of the note.

5. Check the metallic thread

Embedded in every note, this should usually appear as silver dashes down the back of the note but it will show up as a continuous dark line when held up to the light.

6. Check the print quality

All lines and colours on a genuine note will be sharp, clear and free from smudges or blurred edging.

7. Check the microlettering

Using a magnifying glass, look closely at the lettering beneath the Queen's portrait - it will spell out the value of the note in tiny letters and numbers.

8. Check the see-through pound sign

Held up to the light, you should see a pound sign made up of coloured shapes printed on either side of the note.

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