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