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Counterfeit Money

Your Guide to Security Features on Canada's Bank Notes

Key Security Features

  1. Holographic Stripe
    If you tilt the note you can see brightly, rainbow coloured numbers and maple leaves on the shiny, metallic stripe on the front of the bill. Each maple leaf has a color-split within it. Smaller numbers are in the background of the 3-dimensional stripe. The stripe has curved edges.
  2. Watermark Portrait
    When you tilt a bill to the light there is a small, ghost-like image of the portrait to the left of the large numbers as well as smaller numbers. This is called a watermark and can only be seen if there is light in the back. The watermark can be seen on both sides of the bill.
  3. Windowed Color-Shifting Thread
    Hold the bill to the light and you can see a line on both sides of the bill. On the back of the bill the line looks like a series of metallic dashes that change from gold to green when tilted. Small 5,10,20,50 or 100 are printed on the line and woven into the paper.
  4. See-Through Number
    Hold the note to the light and look between the watermark and the large number for a perfectly aligned number on the back and front.
  5. Iridescent Maple Leaves
    Tilt the bill and the 3 maple leaves will change from a faint image to a shiny gold color. The leaf is outlined well and there are no raised edges.
  6. Hidden Number
    Tilt the bill and the number to the left of the portrait will be come visible.
  7. Optical Security Device
    Tilt the note and the metallic patch changes colors from gold to green, you cannot peel off and there are no raised edges.

New Polymer Bank Notes

Feel. Look. Flip.
The new $100 and $50 polymer notes are easy to check and hard to counterfeit. They have the same innovative security features that can be seen in transparent areas on both sides of the notes.


1. Raised ink
Feel the raised ink on the shoulders of the large portrait, the large number, and the words "Bank of Canada" and "Banque du Canada."

2. Large window
Look for transparency through the large window containing a metallic portrait and building.

3. Metallic portrait
Look at the details in the metallic portrait in the large window. It matches the large portrait.

4. Metallic building
Look at the details in the metallic building in the large window. Tilt the note to see sharp colour changes in the building.

5. Small numbers
Look at the numbers in and around the large window that match the value of the note. Some of the numbers appear in reverse.

6. Transparent text
Look at the word "Canada." It is transparent and feels slightly raised.

7. Maple leaf border
Look at the maple leaves that border the large window. Some of the leaves cross into the window.

8. Frosted maple leaf window
Look at the frosted maple leaf window to see that it has a transparent outline.
Flip the note to see the features in the large window repeated in the same colours and detail on the other side.

Added Security

9. Hidden numbers
The hidden numbers are a security feature that you can use to further verify your note, with the aid of a single-point light source.

If you receive a counterfeit note what would you do?

  • Stop and ask for another bill. Keep the counterfeit bill.
  • Call the police. Record the details of how you received the bill
  • Give the note to the police and always get a receipt.

For more information call 1-888-513-8212
Bank of Canada Counterfeit Detection