How to spot counterfeit money, warning issued after fake R200 notes were used at a Durban North restaurant

A specimen of a R200 bank note issued by the South African Reserve Bank(SARB)

A specimen of a R200 bank note issued by the South African Reserve Bank(SARB)

Published Nov 2, 2022


Durban - The South African Reserve Bank (SARB) advises the public to use the look, feel, and tilt approach when screening for counterfeit bank notes.

The Mercury reported on Sunday that suspects believed to be linked to cases of fraud around Durban and Ballito was arrested last week for using fake R200 notes at a popular restaurant on Lindsay Avenue in the Glenashley area of Durban North.

Click here to read the full report

The bank said counterfeit currency are imitation notes or coin produced without the legal sanction of the SARB. Counterfeiting currency and the possession thereof are crimes.

“By law, counterfeit notes found in circulation cannot be exchanged for cash, as they have no value. To confirm the validity of a banknote, the approach of look, feel and tilt can be used,” said SARB.

In terms of section 14 of the SARB Act, only the SARB has the right to issue banknotes and coins in South Africa. Any reproduction of banknote images even for artistic or advertising uses is strictly forbidden.

The SARB, the South African Police Service and the commercial banks work together to combat the counterfeiting of banknotes and coins.

“Members of the public who come into possession of counterfeit banknotes and coin must immediately report it to their nearest police station,” said the bank.

SARB said it is important to be aware of the security features incorporated in banknotes in order to identify counterfeit notes.

SARB advises that when inspecting banknotes an approach of look, feel, and tilt should be adopted:

  • Look: By holding a banknote up to the light, the following features can be observed.

The security thread is the shiny strip on the front of the banknote, which becomes a continuous solid line when held to the light. The words “SARB”, “Rand”, the denomination and the South African coat of arms should be visible.

Security thread of a R100 bank note. Picture: SARB

The watermark is an embedded image of Nelson Mandela with the denomination.

The watermark of a R100 bank note. Picture: SARB

  • Feel: By lightly running your fingertips over the banknote, the following features can be observed.

On the front of the banknote, the portrait of Nelson Mandela and the words SOUTH AFRICAN RESERVE BANK will feel slightly raised or rough.

Raised print of a R100 bank note. Picture: SARB

The raised lines on the bottom left and right of the front of the banknote are aids for the visually impaired. The R10 has one line, the R20 two lines, the R50 three lines, the R100 four lines and the R200 five lines.

Visual aid feature of a R100 bank note. Picture: SARB

  • Tilt: By tilting a banknote, the following features can be observed.

The metallic thread will reflect light and exhibit a slight colour shift.

The numerals on the bottom right of the banknote are printed with a colour-changing ink. The R10 and R20 banknotes exhibit a slight colour shift, whereas the R50, R100 and R200 banknotes appear to have a moving line. .

Colour-changing ink on a R100 bank note. Picture: SARB

The SARB provides support, education and awareness on banknotes and coins to the public.

In collaboration with relevant stakeholders, the SARB runs ongoing public engagement programmes at taxi ranks, malls, schools and community gatherings. The team also conducts public awareness in Common Monetary Area countries, where the rand is legal tender.

Members of the public or organisations who wish to invite the SARB delegates to their area for awareness and training at no cost, can contact us at: 012 313 4713 or [email protected].

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