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More fake euro bills in circulation

Monday, January 13 16:28:24

The European Central Bank today said the number of counterfeit bills removed from circulation hit a three-year high.

The announcement coincided with the bank's unveiling of its newly designed 10-euro note, the second note in a new series that the ECB has unveiled to make its bank notes harder to counterfeit.

The new 10-euro note was intended to help "stay ahead of counterfeiters," the ECB said Monday. Data released Monday showed that while the percentage of counterfeit euros remains very low, the number of fake bills increased in the second half of 2013.

The data showed that in the second half of last year, 353,000 counterfeit notes were withdrawn from circulation, 11.4pc more than in the first half of the year. The total number of counterfeit notes is at its highest level in absolute terms since the second half of 2010, the ECB data showed. Still, with over 15 billion real notes in circulation at any time, the odds of getting counterfeit money remain quite low. The most frequently faked bills are the 20-euro note and the 50-euro note. Together they make up 78pc of counterfeited euro notes, according to the ECB figures.

The new 10-euro note will enter into circulation on Sept. 23 of this year. It maintains the same basic design as the current 10-euro note, but the color is slightly different. The new note has an orange-like hue while the current one is pink. The new one is part of a banknote series launched last year with the five-euro note featuring an image of the Greek goddess Europa. Eventually all denominations of euro zone notes will be released in the Europa series.