What is UV Counterfeit Money Detection and How Does It Work?

If you have been shopping around for a bill counter or a counterfeit money detector, you have probably come across the phrase UV or ultraviolet. UV detection is an important part of verifying the authenticity of a bill. UV scanners are commonly used to detect counterfeit banknotes. The way UV detectors work is simple, yet very clever.

All US denominations, except the $1, have a UV stripe embedded in the banknotes paper / fabric. While it is visible with a back light, this stripe becomes illuminated when a UV light is held over it.

This shows you where the UV stripe is located on a $10:
Location of UV Stripe on $10 US Bill

We have a guide, found here, that shows you where the stripe is located on $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 bills. You will notice that the strip is located in different places, depending on the denomination. There is a good reason for this. One popular method for counterfeiting a bill is to use a real bill, say a $5, bleach it and reprint a higher denomination on that bill. If you are unaware of where the stripe is located, the bleached bill may pass a counterfeit detector.

UV Counterfeit Money Detector / ScannerUltraviolet (UV) counterfeit detectors come in all shapes and sizes. Some of them are portable and require the operator to visually confirm the stripe, where others simply pull in the bills and use a sensor to scan them. While UV counterfeit detection isn’t 100% effective, it catches most counterfeit bills. Visual UV detectors catch just about everything, but SOME automated machines may be tricked by bleached bills. If you are using an automated counterfeit detector, I recommend you use one that implements several counterfeit detection measures.

Having used several types of manual UV counterfeit detectors, I do highly recommend using them indoors and if possible, in a darker setting. Direct sunlight or outdoor use is almost impossible with a manual UV scanner that requires visual verification.

This is a video of me using a very effective manual UV counterfeit detector (the ABC-75 found here):

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We offer a great selection of bill counters with UV counterfeit detection here and a great selection of stand-alone counterfeit detectors with UV capabilities here. If you still have questions, please feel free to contact one of our specialists at 1-800-658-8788. You can learn more about counterfeit detection by reading our guide found here.

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