THE BANK of Thailand hopes its new Bt500 bill with advanced security features will stay ahead of tech-savvy counterfeiters.
“The launching of the Bt500 banknotes is based on three of the central bank’s traditional frameworks, which are to commemorate present and past kings from Sukhothai, Ayutthaya, Thon Buri and Rattanakosin, keep up with new designs of banknotes to meet international standards and upgrade security features to make it harder for counterfeiters to make fake notes,” deputy governor Tongurai Limpiti said yesterday.
The 16th series of its kind will enter into circulation on Monday, replacing the old 15 series that has been in use for 12 years. The switchover should take less than two years, while other banknotes in circulation along with the previous series of Bt500 will remain legal tender.
The colour and size of the latest series remains the same but new features have been incorporated to make it easier for the public and sorting machines to detect fraudulent notes.
The new Bt500 looks similar to the other 15 series of Bt20 and Bt50 banknotes that have been introduced with the portrait of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej in front. However, the photo of the statue of Rama I (Buddha Yodfa Chulaloke) in the back is different from the other notes.
Besides colour shifting ink with a latent image, watermark technology, hologram foil stripe and iridescent coating, the newest security feature is a windowed colour-shifting security thread with moving-boxes animation.
“The special security thread on the reverse side changes from gold to green and illustrates moving-boxes effect is one of the newest features that have been incorporated into this note to enhance security,” she said.
The easiest way to spot fake notes remains the detection of the watermark portrait of His Majesty and the embossed Arabic and Thai numbers in the front.
Added security measures are always good but the introduction of the new banknote also posed some complications for users of cash-deposit machines (CDMs), as the new banknote is not yet compatible with the current security readers of CDMs.
Banks would need three to six months to update their CDMs. The public should go to tellers in the meantime. However, the changes will not affect automated teller machines as the bill’s size remains the same.
Priyavat Chainuvat, assistant governor of the banknote management group, said 100 million bills will be distributed in the middle of the month. There are 240 million old series Bt500 banknotes in the system.
There are 4.5 billion banknotes worth Bt1.4 trillion in circulation and demand increases about 4 per cent each year. Out of all the 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1,000 denominations, the one that is most faked is the Bt1000 bill, as it is most profitable for counterfeiters.
However, Thailand’s printing house for banknotes is among the top 10 in the world – China and Japan are No 1 and 2. Compared to the main currencies such as the euro and US dollar, the baht has a much lower counterfeit rate. The dollar and euro have about 40 fake bills per million notes, while the baht has 5.
“Besides China and Japan, we are second to none in Asia in terms of technology and efficiency in currency printing,” he said.