Check your Change – How to Avoid Counterfeit Currency

How to spot those fakes – Handy Hints

It is that dreaded time of year again, February. It is this particular month where party invitations are sparse and business is quiet, trying to recover from the mayhem that is our Christmas Break. However, we at Cash4Coins are always keen on helping you make your money stretch that little bit further, so we have done some research and collated the best tips on how to avoid accepting or receiving counterfeit coins and notes this year.

A survey done by the Royal Mint saw that 2.55% of British Pound Coins were counterfeit and in circulation as of May 2015. This may not sound like a lot, but out of the millions of pounds in circulation in the UK, it is easy to see how you could end up with them in your pocket after your next food shop, meal or night out. The responsibility lies with the individual that accepts a counterfeit note or coin so it is important that you spend that little bit of extra time to check the money you are exchanging or that is being placed into your possession. If you are ever unfortunate enough to come across one, it is handy to know what you’re looking for before you take your partner or date for a romantic meal, come to pay and then find that your handful of notes and coins are in fact, monopoly money.

Awareness is Key

It has been reported that over 700,000 fake bank notes were found in circulation last year. This shockingly large amount shows how easy it is to fall victim to having one in your possession. You should know that it is illegal to possess fake money of any kind and to pass it around, so if you do come across such a note then be sure to pass it on to the police. You can also refuse to accept any notes given to you and alternatively receive your change in coins or with a different note.

Take Note!

If you are ever unsure of a note that you have received then there are a few indicators that suggest whether your money is genuine or not. Try running your finger over the note, where it says ‘Bank of England’, the print should feel raised.

Silver Lining

On every bank note you will find a metallic strip that runs right through it. It is shown as dashes running in a line on the back of the note but then appears as a dark line with no spaces when held up to the light.

Go to the Light!

This is one of the most simple, yet affective, tricks in the book. When holding a 5, 10, 20 or 50 note up to the light, an image of the queen should appear through the, once plain, oval shaped area in the bottom middle of the note.

Spot the Difference

If you come across a coin where the writing, milled edge and inscription may seem off center, unevenly spaced or poorly defined with uneven depth, then bingo! You may have yourself a fake pound coin.


Did you know that the design of the reverse side on pound coins change every year? When coins are produced and put into circulation, the year they were made is marked on them, so if you are unsure, there are is information online or at banks that provide the information of what design goes with each year. If the design of the coin does not match the year that is dated, then you are sure to have found yourself an imposter.

Neat Trick!

If you are reading this as a business owner, there are many instruments and tools that you can purchase that will check if notes that you are dealing with from customers are real or fake. For example, running a UV light over a ten pound note will show the value of the note in bright red and green whilst the background stays the same colour. Although, if you do not have access to one of these, but you want to check a £50 note, try rubbing the top of the note, above the image of the Queen’s head that is in red, onto a white piece of paper. The red colour from the note should rub off onto the paper.

The Aging Process

If you spot a coin or note where the date suggests it has been in circulation for a few years but shows no sign of discolouration then you should be suspicious, as it may have only just been produced.


If the colour of your coin does not match the colour of a genuine pound coin or if the designs on both sides are not aligned with each other then be aware.

The Good News!

Although your counterfeit notes may be worthless, there is light at the end of the tunnel. If you have received an old note that has come out of circulation, damaged or contaminated you can take yourself down to the nearest bank and have it exchanged for the real deal! Similarly, if you have any enquiries about your currency, anything from Sterling to Yen, and how to exchange it with us here at Cash4Coins, don’t hesitate to get in touch with one of our experts.


Send your coins to us now

Leave a Reply

Our clients