We should admit it, at some point in our lives we have handled counterfeit money whether knowingly or unknowingly.

Being in possession of counterfeit money be it in local or foreign currency is a major offence in Kenya which may land you in prison for not less than 5 years.

So in-order to be on the safe zone, keen hawk-eye measures should be adopted when handling money to determine whether it is genuine or fake currency.

How do you detect if money is real or not? u may ask, well……. here are pointers in detecting fake from genuine money.

  1. Portrait Watermark
    A three dimensional portrait of a lion’s head can be seen when the note is held up to the light. The watermark has a three dimensional appearance with areas in varying tones of dark and light. Below the watermark is the value numeral of the banknote. This number can be seen when the note is held up to the light. Both the portrait and value numeral depict some brightness when held up to the light.
  2. Serial Numbers
    The serial numbering style is asymmetrical and has progressively larger digits in adjacent positions. One set of serial numbers appears horizontally, the other vertically. The vertical serial numbers on the left hand side of the banknote glows under UV light
  3. See Through Feature Each of the banknotes has a see through feature which forms a perfect complete elephant when held up to the light. When looked at from one side, the image does not form any recognizable feature unless when looked at up to the light.
  4. Security Thread
    All genuine banknotes have a distinct interwoven thread running vertically down the right hand side of the notes. When held up to the light, the thread appears as a continuous line and it shows a series of text featuring the denomination numeral of the note and the letters CBK. The current generation of banknotes features two types of threads:-
  • For the 1000 and 500 shillings denominations, the thread is thicker and portrays a colour shift when viewed at angles.
  • The 50, 100 and 200 shilling denominations have a thinner thread silver in colour and do not depict any colour shifts when viewed at angles.

Source: Central Bank of Kenya