Federal Reserve notes are a global reserve currency that must meet broad, unique needs: authentication, counterfeit deterrence through multiple levels of overt and covert security features, and function in banknote machines for merchants, commercial banks and Reserve Banks.
Advanced Counterfeit Deterrence Committee
Leading the redesign charge is the Advanced Counterfeit Deterrence (ACD) Steering Committee, comprised of stakeholders from Treasury, BEP, the Federal Reserve Board, the Federal Reserve System and the U.S. Secret Service. In addition to the modernization of equipment, emerging technologies, and exclusive, state-of-the-art security features, currency redesign requires a carefully planned and collaborative process across the U.S. Currency Program.
Primary Purpose of Redesign: Security
Notes must be resistant to increasingly sophisticated counterfeit attacks – security is the primary purpose of redesign. Careful integration of exclusive security features is the critical foundation to keep cash safe, secure and to ensure the stability of the U.S. economy. Modern technology allows for higher-quality counterfeits. New features, closely aligned with and integrated into new design, are developed to address this threat. More than a decade of research and development, followed by years of optimization and integration testing into the banknote, is required to ensure the successful deployment of these features into U.S. currency.
Once security features are selected and successfully integrated into designs, new equipment and raw materials may also be required. New equipment or raw materials require a comprehensive procurement process as well as extensive acceptance testing to ensure they meet rigorous manufacturing and quality standards at production volumes.
Testing activities are critically important for the U.S. Currency Program to mitigate manufacturing risks and ensure acceptance in commerce. The Banknote Development Process calls for extensive testing which can take years to successfully complete. The process calls for progressively more mature tests – with each test resulting in lessons learned to improve subsequent tests until banknotes are ready for production and issuance. This process is complex and time consuming, and requires comprehensive assessments of results, data analysis, design and feature modifications and modifications of consumables, press equipment and materials.
It is important to note that there are more than 10 million banknote equipment machines worldwide that process U.S. currency. The final step prior to full-scale production and issuance is to facilitate machine readiness in order to ensure that the newly redesigned notes are accepted and function flawlessly in commerce. To ensure this occurs, BEP provides samples of newly designed notes to Banknote Equipment Manufacturers and the Federal Reserve System’s Currency Technology Office to prepare these cash handling machines to make acceptance determinations of the new design.
Note designs are typically made public six to eight months ahead of time for global public education and cash handler education purposes. To do so earlier would aid counterfeiters and cause confusion in the marketplace, lowering confidence in U.S. currency. Note “concepts” are not released earlier for these same reasons. Designs and concepts evolve throughout the development process to ensure manufacturability and optimal levels of security.
The current denomination sequence and planned issuance dates have been in development with the Advanced Counterfeit Deterrence Committee since 2011: $10 (2026), $50 (2028), $20 (2030), $5 (2032) and $100 (2034). This sequence addresses risk mitigation and counterfeiting concerns.
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