1. Identifying a phony paper or polymer note
Polymer ₤ 5 and ₤ 10 notes have actually totally replaced paper notes since 2018, while this year has actually seen the release of polymer ₤ 20 notes into blood circulation.
All notes will be polymer by the end of 2021, when the Bank of England expects to have issued a ₤ 50 polymer note.
However with paper notes still in circulation and polymer notes having extra security functions to make them more difficult to counterfeit, what should you be keeping an eye out for to find if your money is phony?
First, let's look at how to find a phony paper banknote. If you're specifically interested in identifying phony plastic notes, scroll straight to point 8.
These are printed on a special product, so make sure you inspect how the paper feels.
An authentic banknote has a cloth-like feel, while a phony note will feel more like basic paper.
₤ 50 banknote (Image: Bank of England).
2. Raised print.
Run your finger across the paper note and if it's authentic, you need to be able to feel the raised print on areas such as the words 'Bank of England' on the front.
If it's a counterfeit, the note is unlikely to have a textured feel to it and will feel flat all over.
3. Check the metallic thread.
A metal thread is embedded in every paper banknote.
This appears as silver dashes on the back of paper ₤ 20 and ₤ 50 notes (see more details on finding fake paper ₤ 20 notes on this Bank of England page).
The thread is woven through the paper-- not just printed on-- so when you hold it as much as the light it must appear as a constant dark line.
This appears as brilliant green dashes on the front of ₤ 50 notes.
Each dash is in fact a window which includes images of the '₤' Buy counterfeit money online symbol and the number '50'. When the note is slanted from side to side, the images move up and down.
When the note is tilted up and down, the images move from side to side and the number '50' and '₤' sign swap locations.
4. Check the watermark.
If you hold an authentic note up to the light, you should see a picture of the Queen's portrait.
However, if you can still see the watermark when the note is flat and not held up to the light, it's most likely to be a dodgy note.
5. Check the print quality.
The printed lines and colours on genuine notes will be detailed and sharp and devoid of smudges or blurred edges. So make sure you check the detail carefully.
If the quality is poor or untidy, you've obtained a phony!
6. Check under ultra-violet light.
This isn't so helpful if you've just been offered a banknote in a shop, however if you're really identified to discover whether your note is fake or genuine, put it under ultra-violet light.
If it's the genuine offer, its value will appear in brilliant red and green numbers while the background will be dull on the other hand.
The paper ₤ 20 and ₤ 50 notes also have bright red and green flecks randomly spread over the front and back of the note.
7. Use a magnifying glass.
Use a magnifying glass to look closely at the lettering underneath the Queen's portrait. On a genuine note, ornamental swirls define the worth of the note in little letters and numerals.