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South African Reserve Bank

Security features of banknotes 

Security features to look for:
Well-established security features include:

A watermark formed within the paper - When held up to the light, the image is visible and will not produce on colour copiers;
A security thread running through the banknote paper - A special thread is woven into the paper. On the front it appears a silvery stripe. When held up to direct light, it appears as a continuous line on which the letters "SARB" can be seen. 
High quality paper - Members of the public report that they recognise a banknote as a counterfeit by the texture of the paper; and 
Print quality - The fineness of the print quality on a genuine banknote is difficult for current scanning equipment to resolve properly. Intaglio printing, where thick ink lends a raised surface to the print surface, is difficult to reproduce cheaply.
The latest design features and technologies are constantly monitored and applied where applicable.
Hold our banknote up to direct light and you will see its safety features.
Click on the posters below to view the security features of banknotes:

What you should do when receiving a banknote:

Study the various security features built into our banknotes;

Make a habit of checking the banknotes you receive for these features; and
Don’t hesitate or feel embarrassed about holding a banknote up to the light, feeling for intaglio printing or flicking the banknote and listening for the characteristic sound.
If anyone does get upset, explain that there’s nothing personal involved and that it’s in everyone’s best interest to keep an eye open for forgeries. And don’t get upset when others check the money you’re handing them either!
In the unlikely event that you’ve been handed a forgery, don’t accept it. Simply alert the person to the fact and get the banknote replaced. Then check it too!
If you’re in a bank, insist on the manager (and the police) being called. And if you’ve received the money from a customer at work, call the police immediately. Under no circumstances, be a hero! Just get the banknote replaced, leave and report the matter to the police.
In order to ensure that the security features on South Africa's currency remain among the best in the world, the Bank has improved the security features on the upgraded banknotes.
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