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Handicapping currency design: counterfeit deterrence and visual accessibility in the United States and abroad


  • Marcela M. Williams
  • Richard G. Anderson


Despite the increasing use of electronic payments, currency retains an important role in the payments system of every country. Two aspects of currency usage drive currency design worldwide: deterring counterfeiting and making paper currency accessible to the visually impaired. Further, among the world's currencies, only U.S. banknotes are widely owned and used in transactions outside their country of issue (although the euro also has some external circulation). In this article, we compare and contrast major currencies and their design features. We conclude that the designs of the two most widely used currencies in the world-the U.S. dollar and the euro-have successfully deterred counterfeiting; data on other currencies are not public. We also conclude that, among the world's major currencies, U.S. banknotes have the fewest features to assist the visually impaired.

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  • Marcela M. Williams & Richard G. Anderson, 2007. "Handicapping currency design: counterfeit deterrence and visual accessibility in the United States and abroad," Working Papers 2007-011, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedlwp:2007-011

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    Paper money design ; Coinage ; Counterfeits and counterfeiting;

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