How to Detect Fake Banknotes in Pubs

Despite the move to new polymer banknotes, counterfeit cash is still a threat to pubs and bars in the UK. With its profits helping to fund organised crime, counterfeit cash costs the UK economy millions of pounds every year.

One of the most popular places to filter fake notes into the market is pubs. They are cash-rich places where using a £20 note to pay for a £3 pint isn’t considered unusual. Busy bar staff don’t always feel like they have the time to check notes like shop cashiers do, making it easier for fraudsters to pass off their fake notes.

Fortunately, there are things pubs can do to detect fake banknotes.

Check the local news

In order to maximise on distribution, fraudsters often hit a number of local pubs. By keeping an ear to the ground, you have a chance of getting advanced warning that fraudsters are operating in your area.

Train your staff

The pub industry is known for having high staff turnover. As such, it’s even more important to make sure that your staff are fully trained up on how to spot fake banknotes. They should also be trained on the use of counterfeit detection equipment.


The Bank of England has a variety of useful tools to help educate your bar staff and get them up to speed on the best ways to detect counterfeit banknotes.

What features of a banknote should be checked?

Your staff should check a few features which are specific to each denomination. For example, focus on the see-through window on the polymer £5 and £10 notes, the holographic strip and watermark on the £20 note and the green motion thread and watermark on the £50 note.

Use the right fake note detectors

ZZap-D40-Counterfeit-Detector-Fast, Reliable & Portable Detection

UV counterfeit detectors can be positioned above till trays to make it quick and easy to check your customers’ banknotes. UV money checkers use ultra-violet light reveals the anti-counterfeit features of a banknote, so your staff know that the notes they’re putting in your till are the real deal.

Do note checker pens work on new bank notes?

Note checker pens are effective for picking up the starch in £50 notes, but not in polymer notes. Note checker pens do not work as effectively as other forms of counterfeit detection, but they will remain useful for checking £20 and £50 banknotes and foreign notes.

What to do if you get fake notes in your pub

If you or your bar staff receive a fake banknote, it is advised that you contact the police immediately.

A spokesman for the Bank of England, who has released details on how to spot counterfeit currency, said: “If you report counterfeiting to the police, you are helping with investigations and alerting them to a problem in their area. This means that they can take action to protect your community.”

If your staff suspect a note to be a fake, they are within their rights to refuse it and should do. While you can get reimbursed for the possession of a fake banknote, the process takes time and you’re unlikely to get the cost of the product that was acquired in the exchange.

If you want to keep your pub safe from fraudsters, order one of our counterfeit detectors today. Our state of the art detectors verify banknotes in less than half a second, thanks to the latest counterfeit detection technology. Automatic, effortless and seamless, our range of products are able to identify fake money right away.

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