Vertical Markets

Holograms and banknotes

by Mark Rowe

According to the International Hologram Manufacturers Association (IHMA), news that three men have gone to jail for their part in the printing fake banknotes with a face value of millions of pounds, adds to concerns about sophisticated criminals.

Counterfeiting is a multibillion-dollar global problem and this latest development, says the IHMA, shows that banknotes continue to be under threat even, perhaps more so, during the pandemic. Specifically, counterfeiters are looking take advantage to print and distribute fake banknotes, spurred on by the prospect of pumping millions of pounds of counterfeit money into the UK economy. It’s likely that the impact of counterfeit money would have been felt by the public across the UK, adds the IHMA.

Holograms have featured on banknotes for decades and according to an industry report continue to play a ‘crucial’ role in issuing authorities’ strategies to tackle counterfeiting activity. The report puts the annual global volume of banknotes produced at 125 billion, so the reward for hologram producers capable of providing the technology to overcome the technical challenges is potentially highly lucrative.

Dr Paul Dunn, chair of the IHMA, pictured, says: “Holography is an effective weapon in the battle to thwart counterfeiters, continually evolving as an effective first line of defence feature for modern banknotes.

“The new generation of polymer notes entering into global circulation are examples of this evolution and illustrate some of the best and most technically innovative holograms on banknotes, which combine with other features to deliver value added solutions.

“So, even as questions are being asked about the future of cash in society, there will always be a central role for banknotes and the need for secure, cost effective features that the public recognise, and trust remains paramount.”

The IHMA points to holograms for banknotes as a level one security feature that’s recognisable by the general public besides cashiers and those operating cash tills in stores, to recognise whether a banknote is bona fide. New Zealand was among the countries that reported a fall in counterfeiting after it introduced new hologram banknotes.

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