NZ fights counterfeiting with coloured coins

NZ banknotesNew Zealand will upgrade its currency in 2015 with new anti-counterfeiting features, including coloured coins.

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand has put $43m towards the redesign of the banknotes, which haven’t been updated since 1999, saying that security features are the "focus of the upgrade." The Royal Canadian Mint, the company that produces the country’s coins, has revealed coloured coins that will use new technologies to be as security protected as possible while the banknotes will remain similar to the originals but with significantly improved security features and refreshed designs.

The historical rate of counterfeiting in New Zealand is just below one counterfeit note per million notes in circulation, which compares to 100 to 250 counterfeit notes per million in the US. And in fact the rate of counterfeiting is in decline. Since the year 2000, there has been a rapid decrease in the amounts of counterfeit notes detected per million notes in circulation. In 2000, there were 8.8 notes detected per million however in 2009, that value was down to 0.9.

Geoff Bascand, the bank’s deputy governor, commented in a speech last week: "While counterfeiting rates in New Zealand are low compared to the rest of the world, we need to stay one step ahead of the game."
Currently New Zealand banknotes are already made of a polymer which has a shinier feel to paper, which makes it easier to spot forged notes. If a genuine note is held up to the light, a ‘shadow image’ of the Queen can be seen on the right hand side of the portrait on every note. Bascand also said that the new notes will have "improved design features to help visually impaired people identify the notes, and differentiate the denominations," whilst also having colour changing and optically variable features.

Other countries looking into upgrading their currency to fight counterfeiting are the Australia, the EU and the US.

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