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Combatting Counterfeiting with the New Cash Assist Mobile Application


Nothing is more frustrating than realizing the money taken in by your business or in your pocket isn’t genuine due to counterfeiting. On June 14, 2021, the Federal Reserve Board’s U.S. Currency Education Program launched a new, free mobile application called Cash Assist to help cash handlers across industries identify the security features of U.S. currency.


The Cash Assist mobile app was developed as a handheld, training companion to the U.S. Currency Education Program’s Online Training Course, which can be found at uscurrency.gov. Its primary purpose is to help cash handlers (bank tellers, cashiers, etc.) quickly identify and learn to authenticate U.S. currency by displaying the security and design features of genuine banknotes. Users scan a banknote with their smartphone’s camera into the app’s “Denomination Detector.” This feature reveals all of the unique features that are present in the identified denomination. The “Tilt Check Simulator” feature can be used by those who want to interact with a virtual banknote and see how the features of the banknote function when in motion.


While the app was designed to assist cash handlers, anyone can use it. The app does not authenticate banknotes, but it does provide individuals with the skills to self-authenticate notes on their own and offers instructions on how to report suspected counterfeit notes. The app currently is only available for Android devices, but an Apple iOS version is planned for launch later this year.


As a reminder, Section 102 of the Coinage Act of 1965 (31 U.S.C. 392) designates coins and currency as legal tender, however, there is no federal statute requiring private businesses to accept cash as a form of payment, unless there is a state law, which says otherwise. If you suspect a currency note is counterfeit, you do not have to accept it as payment or in change. Counterfeiting hurts everyone’s bottom line, so it pays to take some time out to familiarize yourself with U.S. currency security features and get to “know your money.”


Photo Credit: Courtesy of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, U.S. Currency Education Program


Secretary Janet L. Yellen Provides Official Signature for 2021 United States Paper Currency


On March 10, Secretary Janet L. Yellen met with Bureau of Engraving and Printing Director Leonard Olijar to provide the official signature for printing on the new 2021 series of United States paper currency.

Statement from Bureau of Engraving and Printing Director Len Olijar
   

“The Advanced Counterfeit Deterrence Steering Committee, which includes membership from the BEP, the US Secret Service and the Federal Reserve System, was chartered to make design and security recommendations to the Secretary of the Treasury.  At this time, the ACD Committee and BEP remain focused on developing security features for the upcoming redesign. 

    

“As technology has evolved, banknote production has vastly changed over the last three decades.  The next family of notes require new, overt and covert security features for the public, the banknote equipment manufacturers, and the central bank, to keep our currency safe and secure.  Security features also need to work in mass production.  A design can change during testing.  The overwhelming success of the redesigned $100 in thwarting counterfeiting, is greatly due to the effectiveness of the blue security thread which is a public feature (and which a design was integrated around afterwards).  That development alone of that security feature took approximately 10 years to finalize.

     

“Moreover, BEP was never going to unveil a note design in 2020.  To keep our currency safe and secure, it is unwise to give counterfeiters a look at a potential future note far in advance of a note going into circulation.  Additionally, if the concept of a note that was made public by the government were to change during that lengthy amount of time, it would create confusion in the global marketplace, further aiding counterfeiters.

    

“No Bureau or Department official has ‘scrapped’ anything; it is too early to develop an integrated concept or design until security features are finalized.  The aesthetics or look of the note has always come after and been driven by the security features.  Everything remains on the table.

    

“The illustration published by the New York Times was a copy of an old Series note with the signatures of former officials, with a different image super-imposed on it.  It is not a new $20 note, as incorrectly stated by the New York Times, in any way, shape or form.  The facsimile contained no security features or offset printing included on currency notes.  There is nothing about that illustration that even begins to meet technical requirements for the next family of notes.”

     

BEP Director Len Olijar

June 14, 2019