How to tell if Canadian money is real How to tell if Canadian money is real

Authenticity Check: Learn More About the Currency of Canada

Fake bills have always been a problem that every government has to face at some point in time, but it is not just the government that needs to know the difference between real money and counterfeit money. So, How to tell if Canadian money is real?

Every person who deals with Canadian money should know what authentic Canadian bills look like to avoid falling prey to such frauds. But if somehow you do fall prey, the best thing to do is to immediately report it to the local police as timely reporting helps police along with prosecutors to bring counterfeiters under punishment.

Counterfeit money is an offence taken very gravely by the Bank of Canada as they conduct heavy monitoring of counterfeiting along with the police and the prosecutors to reduce its adverse impact on the people of Canada.

Here we shall look at some of the Bank of Canada’s tips that shall be helpful in How to tell if Canadian -money is real or not?

1. How to Tell if Canadian -Money is Real- 9 Ways

Bank of Canada: The New $100 Note

You may use several identifying traits and security features on Canadian -currency to determine its authenticity so that whenever you accept Canadian bank notes next, you can do so with confidence. That is because you know How to tell if money is real!

The Bank of Canada publishes every series of bills with slightly differing security measures. Nevertheless, a lot of those characteristics are present in every series. 

1.1. Texture

Canadian money is printed on a special polymer paper and thus must feel smooth and like plastic, giving it a distinctive texture. If it does not feel that way, the money might be a counterfeit. But before taking any drastic step, look for other signs as well.
One thing to remember is that the polymer bills were introduced in 2011 only. So some of the paper bills might still be in circulation. Hence, the difference in texture.

1.2. Large Transparent Window with a Metallic Portrait

A large metallic portrait known as a hologram visible within the large transparent window is considered the best way to spot a counterfeit bill since it is one of the most complex features to replicate in a counterfeit.

This holographic portrait should match the front portrait of the bill, change colour when tilted, and finally, a mirrored version of the portrait should appear on the back of the original.

For example, the coloured metallic portrait of Borden on the dollar 100 bills. Sir Robert Borden was Canada’s eighth Prime Minister who guided the country through the difficult period of the First World War, earning him a place on the Canadian banknotes.

The dollar 50 Canadian bill features the portrait of William Lyon Mackenzie King, former Canadian prime minister. This metallic portrait has subtle colour changes when titled and twisted.

1.3. Transparent Window with Small Leaf

Another sign that the counterfeit bills will not possess is the frosted maple leaf with a transparent outline. This transparent component of the Canadian bills is very difficult to replicate. The fake money can be easily spotted if there is any problem in this transparent section of the Canadian Banknote

1.4. Maple Leaf Border

As we have learned above, the transparent window of the Canadian bill is an integral part of determining the authenticity of the Banknote as it equips various security features.

Another important feature present in it is the arched row of maple leaves. This row of maple leaves runs along the edge of the transparent window. The row of maple leaves should also cross the window.
If this arched row seems problematic, it can be suspected counterfeit money.

1.5. Number in the Large Transparent Window

The transparent window also hosts a series of repetitive numbers that match the monetary value of the bills. To make this point more clear, let us take an example.

If we have a dollar 20, then in a line, there shall be a small 20 repeating near the word Canada written beneath the metallic portrait. The word Canada is also slightly raised if we touch and feel it.
Any alteration in placing the number of the monetary value of the bill may be a sign of counterfeit Canadian money.

1.6. Building in the Large Transparent Window

Another indication to suspect counterfeit bills is the appearance of a detailed picture of a building near the bottom edge of the transparent window.

This picture is not just an outline but quite a detailed one. Each banknote has a specific building picture.
An example of such a building is the central block of parliament. The metallic building has more sharp colour changes than the portrait.

1.7. Serial Numbers

Each Canadian banknote has a unique serial number, so if someday you receive two or more banknotes having the same serial number, it is probably suspicious money and a counterfeit.

So get ready to report it to the authorities.

1.8. Raised Ink

The raised ink is a distinctive feature of Canadian Banknotes. There are two places on the bills where a person shall feel slightly raised ink.

Firstly, the larger number value printed on the front side of the note should feel raised. For example, the 50 on the dollar bill 50 should feel raised.
Secondly, the words Bank of Canada and Banque du Canada on the front of the bill also come under this category.

1.9. Frosted Maple Leaf Window

Over the large numeric value, there appears a frosted maple leaf with a transparent outline. This aspect of the real Canadian- currency is quite difficult to copy and is of great help in distinguishing real money from the counterfeit bills

2. How to Deal with Suspicious Money?

Now that you know how to spot real money from a counterfeit bill so we shall also look at what a person should do when they happen to encounter a fake bill either before or after a transaction

Bank Note Counterfeiting

2.1. While Receiving

Suppose you are at a grocery store, and you are about to keep that cash you just received in your purse instead, you notice some oddity in these bills. So the best option shall be to point it out politely to the cashier and ask for another banknote.

Instead of reporting the person to the local police, explain that it might be counterfeit cash since the person in possession may have been an innocent victim too.

After refusing to accept the cash and explaining to the cashier how the money might be counterfeit, ask the person to report the attempt to pass suspected counterfeit money to the local police so that they can take timely measures to fight the making of these counterfeit notes.

2.2. After Receiving

But if you realize that you were duped after receiving the money, the process remains the same. According to the Bank of Canada, it is necessary to immediately report to the local police any counterfeiting activity in your area.

Try to remember the person who gave you that fake bill and explain their appearance to the police as this will help them to locate the person who could either be a part of a gang making counterfeits directly or may have been just another victim through whom the hunt shall continue if they can recall the person who gave them the fake bill.

3. An Altered Bill?

A thing to keep in mind is that not every fake money is created from scratch some undergo alteration.
For example, the small bills of dollar 10 may be altered to look like dollar 100. Although, the stronger security features like the holograms will give them away when inspected closely.

An altered bill is a former legal tender, once genuine, legally printed, and duly signed by the bank officer.
Yet it is considered an unlawful banknote since it was altered in some way, either the denomination or some other aspect of the bill.

So we can say that these altered bills are technically not counterfeit since they were once a legal part of the circulation but do not hold any value now because of their alteration.

Final Thoughts

How to tell if Canadian money is real
John Mcarthur / Unsplash copyright 2020

As we have mentioned a couple of times, the best thing to do when you suspect possible counterfeiting activity is to report it to your local police and authorities. This thing goes for people belonging to any country and not just Canada.

Knowing how to tell if  money is real or not is a skill that every Canadian should have not only to help themselves but also knowing how to tell if money is real or not is a great help and also somewhat responsibility of the citizens since it will help the government and prosecutors bring counterfeiters to justice. Keeping the economy of the country stable and sound.

If you suspect the person of being involved in the scam, you should try to remember their appearance and report them to the police.

However, remember to give the person the benefit of the doubt since they could have been innocent victims themselves.

If you fear a fake bill ending up in your purse, being cashless is a safer option. Going cashless reduces your chances of being targeted for theft and even being involved in money laundering.

Although going completely cashless may not be very convenient for some people as you may also run the risk of a potential security data breach. Ultimately it is the choice of each individual as to how they want to deal with their money.

Knowing how to tell if money is real is a skill that every Canadian should learn and should even be taught to the younger generations to keep themselves and their country free of this crime that gains momentum now and then and hampers the well-being of the Canadian economy as a whole.

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Last Updated on by Suchi


  • Bhumikavr

    Bhumika is an author in our team, she has a great zeal in learning new things. Articles like 'What's new' 'Entertainment' and other exciting food and exploring places in Canada are well written by her.

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