There has been a recent scare amongst the public regarding counterfeit HKD bank notes. As a result the market is currently short of HKD500 bills as demand for the HKD1000 bills drop. In light of this knee jerk reaction, please refrain from panic as only BOC (bank of China) and HSBC 2003 series notes are affected, and although it looks like the counterfeiters have done a decent job in copying the face design of the note, the rest of the fake note can be found wanting. With some basic knowledge and familiarity with bank notes, these fakes can be easily detected. Here are some basic tips:
1. Finding grounds for suspicion:
– Do not try to identify fakes by the face design. Although this is the primary method in the money service industry, we have years of experience and will be able to detect minute differences (this is how the fakes were caught in the first place)
– The easiest and fastest method is looking at the 1000 numeral at the top right of the note. As shown in the image below, the left is an example of a real note and the right is a fake. When seen dead on, the original is a clear crisp golden colour and the fake is more of an unclear golden brown colour. If still unsure tilt the note at an angle and the real one will start displaying a crisp, faint, but clear light green 1000 and the fake one will display a greyish green colour.
2. Further inspecting a suspicious note:
– If you are still not sure, flip the note over and have a look at the fat metal thread woven through the note. This is a little trickier to explain and you may need a note with you for reference. If you have a look at the back of an original note, the thread looks part of it; it has some of the note’s design printed onto it. But the fake note’s metal strip is too square and too much like a hologram that has been perfectly cut and just put through the note.
– If you look at the same metal strip while held into the light you will be able to see ‘HK1000’ written, followed by the bohemia flower, and then ‘HK 1000’ written upside-down and repeated across the strip. Get familiar with it because a fake will not be able to attain this level of quality and accuracy.
There are other ways to identify a fake note but the methods mentioned above seem to be the most practical and should be easy enough for anyone to follow. If ever in doubt, ask a money service professional and we will be able to tell you whether it is a fake or not on the spot. For more information on this issue, please see the below video from the Hong Kong government website.
Just one last tip, since many people are stuck with HKD1000 notes and most places are not accepting them, what can you do? Instead of joining long queues at the bank, just deposit all your HKD1000 notes in the cash machine (they tend to have shorter queues) and you can withdraw at the ATM again 😉