Three ways to detect counterfeit Philippine money

Last week, I was given the opportunity to visit and meet officials of PIA and Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Cebu and talked to BSP-Cebu Regional Director Atty. Dess Sumbi about various topics, of course related to money. For now I will share with you some of the insights about ways to detect counterfeit Philippine Peso banknotes or bills.

Most if not all big businesses or SMEs will be the recipient of fake bills. When a business accepts fake bills, they bear the entire burden of profit losses. And though it's true that counterfeiters' techniques are getting more and more complex (through digital printing technologies), there are ways cashiers, employees, entrepreneurs or anyone can do to recognize counterfeit money.

Ignorance of the law excuses no one
Under Article 166 of the Revised Penal Code, circulating fake money (coins and bills) in connivance with forgers is punishable with a penalty of reclusion temporal or 12 years and 1 day to 20 years of imprisonment and a fine not to exceed Php10,000. If not in connivance with forgers, circulation or use of fake money is punishable with a penalty of prison mayor or 6 years and 1 day to 12 years of imprisonment under Article 168 of the same code.

And section 50 of Republic Act 7653, BSP shall have the sole power and authority to Issue currency within the Philippine territory. It also has the authority to investigate, make arrests, conduct searches and seizures to maintain the integrity of the currency.

Ways to detect fake Philippine banknotes
It seems that recognizing what authentic money looks and feels like is something only an EXPERT can do but below are some simple ways to determine a banknote’s authenticity:

1. Use Touch – fake bills will often feel differently from authentic ones.

* The NDS bills are not smooth but a bit rough since it is made of cotton and Philippine Abaca

* Braille letters can be found in authentic banknotes

* “Republika ng Pilipinas” is not supposed to be smooth

2. Use Sight – take a closer look.

* Find the watermark – shadow images of the portrait and the word Filipino in baybayin appear when viewed against the light

* Compare with another bill side-by-side

* Serial numbers should not be of the same size

3. Examine Security Features

* A 4mm wide stitch-like metallic security thread can be seen in 100, 200, 500 and 1000 peso notes while 2mm wide threads for 20 peso and the 50 peso notes.

* Red and blue fibers are embedded in the banknote paper glow under ultra violet light.

* Reflective coil patches for 500 and 1000 bills; the letter BSP and numeric denomination are found on the security thread itself.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) reiterated that the public should to be vigilant when it comes to handling and accepting money to avoid being deceived. Investing in knowledge about our money will go a long way towards helping you protect yourself and others from fraud and also preserve the rewards of your hard work.


The writer is an RFP® - registered financial planner of RFP PH, Licensed Real Estate Broker and Director of CERTA, Inc., a family estate planning and investment advisory firm. To know more, please visit

Originally Published in Philstar - The Freeman Newspaper last July 05, 2016.
Three ways to detect counterfeit Philippine money Three ways to detect counterfeit Philippine money Reviewed by Vernon Joseph Go on Sunday, July 17, 2016 Rating: 5

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