Money Matters

Can I reliably authenticate banknotes using counting machines?

Not always. It depends upon the type of machine and its counterfeit detection features - and how it is used or serviced.

The Bank of England (BOE) has introduced a process for testing machines against its stock of known counterfeit banknotes. This is known as the "Framework for Testing of Automatic Banknote Handling Machines". The bank does not certify that all machines in use will always perform as the tested example as it cannot control the way the machines in use are set up or serviced. A pass is awarded to demonstrate that the model of machine is capable of meeting the standard set by the Bank of England.

There is a list of machines that have passed the BOE's tests on their website. Machines must be tested annually by the BOE to remain on the published list.

How do I manually check that a banknote is genuine?

The BOE has issued a useful guide which you can download from their website:

What about banknotes issued by Scottish and Northern Irish banks?

How do I find out about Scottish and Northern Irish banknotes?

The Bank of England framework does not include other sterling notes issued by other banks. There is no equivalent testing process for Scottish and Northern Irish banknotes.

The website of the Association of Commercial Banknote Issuers (ACBI) is the best single source of information. The website of the Committee of Scottish Clearing Banks (CSCB) provides additional information on Scottish banknotes. It includes a useful explanation of "legal currency" and "legal tender".


These websites only provide information on the current series of banknotes from each issuing bank. In Scotland and Northern Ireland older series of banknotes are still in circulation, so you may need to go to each bank's website or contact them directly. Or CHARLES MARTYN can help to resolve your query.

Which banknote handling machines will authenticate Scottish or Northern Irish banknotes  - and which notes will they not verify?

You'll have to ask every manufacturer or supplier ... or CHARLES MARTYN can investigate machine availability or potential and offer recommendations for you.

How can we test banknote handling machines using BOE, Scottish or Northern Irish banknotes?

CHARLES MARTYN can liaise with the issuing banks to arrange machine testing against valid and counterfeit banknote test packs, or for volume testing of banknote sorters in NCS (Note Circulation Scheme) cash centres.