The number of counterfeit euro notes withdrawn from circulation in Belgium remains low in the first half of 2018

The number of counterfeit banknotes is still very small compared to the genuine notes in circulation. For the euro area, the number is estimated at 35 counterfeit notes per million notes in circulation.

The number of counterfeits detected in circulation in Belgium fell sharply in 2016 and 2017 and remains very low in 2018. 15,160 counterfeit banknotes were withdrawn from circulation during the first half of 2018.

The two denominations most commonly forged in Belgium are still the € 20 and € 50 notes. Counterfeit € 20 notes make up 15.53 % of total forgeries, while counterfeit € 50 notes represent 69.15 %. Together, these two denominations account for 85% of all counterfeits withdrawn from circulation in the first half of 2018.

euro 5 10 20 50 100 200 500
number 415 71 1.735 10.483 2.355 66 35 15.160
pct. 2,74 % 0,47 % 11,44 % 69,15 % 15,53 % 0,44 % 0,23 % 100,00 %

The risk of encountering forgeries therefore remains low, especially as it takes only a few seconds to check whether a banknote is genuine by using the “feel, look and tilt” method, which makes it easy to detect suspect banknotes and discourages counterfeiting.

In addition, the new “Europe” series of euro banknotes comprises even more effective security features which improve resistance to counterfeiting and facilitate authentication.

The National Bank works closely with the Federal Police to combat counterfeiting, and organises practical training in the recognition of the euro banknote security features. These training sessions are free and are intended for people who need to handle cash in the course of their work: traders, cashiers, and counter staff, as well as schools.

This training is provided free of charge by National Bank staff at the Bank’s various branches or on the premises of the businesses or institutions themselves. Anyone interested can register via the website.