Imagine that you go to a supermarket to buy groceries. You pull out Rs. 500 and hand it to the cashier. And he or she checks the note against the light to verify if the note that you handed over is authentic. We bet this has happened to you several times.
While you might think that checking for the authenticity of the note is not obligatory and can be skipped, lots of fake currency notes are circulated in the market and verifying if the note is real or fake is important. So, how do you determine if a note is indeed authentic and you aren’t being conned?
Well, the Reserve Bank of India has incorporated nine security measures that will help you easily verify the credibility of a currency note. Let’s get started!
Be it a 1,000 rupee note or a 500, 100, 50, 20 or 10 rupee note, all of them have Mahatma Gandhi’s portrait printed on the obverse side of the note. All the notes with Mahatma Gandhi’s portrait have a specific watermark window which contains the light and shade image of Gandhi along with multi-directional lines. The watermarked image of Gandhi is clearly visible when the note is seen against the light.
On the left side of Mahatma Gandhi’s portrait, there is a feature called security thread in the note. This security thread is fully embedded on the reverse side of the note and is alternatively visible on the front side of the note. In a 1,000 rupee note, words such as Bharat (in Hindi), RBI and 1000 can be found inscribed on the security thread.
In 500 and 100 rupee notes, you can find the inscriptions Bharat (in Hindi) and RBI on the security thread. When held against the light, you can see the security thread as one continuous line in 1,000, 500 and 100 rupee notes. In 5, 10, 20 and 50 rupee notes, the fully embedded security thread on the obverse side of the note contains readable inscriptions of Bharat (in Hindi) and RBI.
To the right of Mahatma Gandhi’s portrait on the obverse side of the note, there is a section or band on which a latent numeric image of the denominational value is printed. This security feature is only available in 1,000, 500, 100, 50 and 20 rupee notes.
In between Mahatma Gandhi’s portrait and the latent image band, there is a section where the word RBI is printed in minute letters in 5 and 10 rupee notes. In 1,000, 500, 100, 50 and 20 rupee notes, the denominational value in numeric is also printed along with the word RBI. These letters are so minute that one might need a microscope to see it.
This security feature allows us to check the authenticity of the currency note by feel of touch as certain inscriptions in the note are printed in Intaglio i.e. raised prints. Mahatma Gandhi’ portrait, the Ashoka Pillar Emblem on the left, the Reserve Bank seal, guarantee and promise clause, the RBI Governor’s signature are all printed in Intaglio to help us check if the note is indeed real. This feature is available in 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1,000 rupee notes.
On the left side of the watermark window, there is a symbol printed in Intaglio in all notes except for 5 and 10 rupee notes. The symbol differs for each denomination and helps visually impaired to find the value of the note. While a 20 rupee note has a vertical rectangle symbol, 50, 100, 500 and 1000 rupee notes have square, triangle, circle and diamond symbols respectively.
This security feature allows us to check the authenticity of the currency note in ultraviolet lamps. While the number panels in a note are printed using fluorescent ink, the notes also contain optical fibres, which can be viewed clearly under UV light.
Optically Variable ink
The denominational value of each note is indicated by the numeric value denoted in it. Nowadays, these numbers indicating the denominational value of 500 and 1000 rupee notes are printed using optically variable ink also known as colour shifting ink. So, if you see the colour of the numerals 1000 and 500, it appears green when the note is held flat and it would appear blue when the note is viewed from an angle.
See through Register
There is a small flower like design on the centre of a band next to the watermark window on both sides of the note. While on the front side, the design is hollow, on the reverse side, the design is colour filled.