The new $100 has plenty of security features intended to stump thieves.

The new $100 has plenty of security features intended to stump thieves.

New bills with more frills

Bank of Canada reveals new Canadian money

The latest attempt to thwart counterfeiters will see Canadians flipping through funky polymer bills with frosted windows and flower boxes en route to the checkout counter.

Farid Salji and Isabelle Jacques, from the Bank of Canada, have unveiled the latest bill designs to retailers, walking shopkeepers and the media through the ins and outs of new security features intended to keep increasingly sophisticated counterfeiters at bay.

“We used to issue a note once every 15 years and now it looks like we need to issue a note once every eight years with the way technology advances because it’s cheaper; it’s more easy for individuals to get ahold of and they can replicate them,” said Salji.

In a peak year — those which fall just before a major change in bills — counterfeit notes can cost Canadians as much as $13 million (2004), although the Bank of Canada has managed to drastically improve the odds by changing the bill designs more often.

Down 90 per cent from that 2004 peak season, the bank representative said there isn’t anyone who is currently counterfeiting Canadian money perfectly, though the fraudulent notes are good enough to pass when people and businesses don’t check their bills.

“You need to verify your money just like you need to verify any form of payment. So if you get a Visa or MasterCard you’re verifying identification,” Salji said.

The new $100 will be the first note to come out of the polymer series and it has a string of security features including both a clear window and a frosted window with a holograph of a flower and a hidden number inside.

“It’s more advanced than any hidden number that’s ever been incorporated into polymer-based substrates,” Salji said, noting polymer money has been around for 20 years.

There are 30 countries using polymer money, which is both environmentally friendly as it can be reduced and recycled and lasts longer than the current cotton-based notes.

To see the hidden number in question, one must hold the note close to the eye and shine a light behind it.

The number is hidden in a holograph image of a flower.

On the rest of the note, there are the usual holograph images, but also several raised areas buried in specific spots where those who accept bills will be trained to look.

Ensuring that money is genuine and not counterfeit is an individual’s responsibility, meaning business owners can suffer major losses when several bills are accepted that are found to be fraudulent. That said, the bank representatives do not want individuals trying to catch counterfeiters or those who show up with counterfeit money.

The appropriate response is to turn down the money and suggest the person take it to local law enforcement then contact the RCMP to let them know a suspicious bill has been spotted.

The $100 bill will be on the street come November, followed by a $50 in March 2012. The rest will be out before 2013.

Detailed information on the new $100 note and its features can be found at www.bankofcanada.ca.

Some of the protective identifiers include:

• a metallic portrait holograph in the clear window

• mall “100” numbers in the clear window

• metallic Parliament building in the window

• a maple leaf border which straddles the clear window and the solid bill surface

• raised ink

• a frosted maple leaf window with a hidden number

The polymer series is expected to save money over time as the bills themselves last longer than cotton bills.