Identifying Genuine Currency

Our currency notes and coins have various advanced security features, including visually recognisable security features, machine-readable features and covert features. While the number of counterfeit Singapore currency is very low, the public is advised to be vigilant and to familiarise themselves with the key security features of genuine currency. 

Identifying Genuine Notes

The security features in Singapore's currency notes act as a safeguard to minimise the risk of counterfeiting. 

Look out for these security features in the paper and polymer notes.

Security Features of the Paper Notes

Incorporated in each currency note is a multiplicity of security features which makes the counterfeiting of currency notes extremely difficult. The best method of detection is to compare a suspect note with a genuine note. Security features of Portrait series notes are set out below.

$50 Paper Note

Security Features of the Polymer Notes

Polymer notes are printed on a specialised polypropylene plastic that is derived from petroleum, and this material is not available commercially for security control purposes. The material starts as a clear plastic film, which is produced using unique patented production processes. The clear film is coated with multiple layers of materials, on which the features of the notes can then be printed. During the coating process an extensive range of security features are incorporated.

The $2, $5 and $10 polymer notes have security features unique to the polymer technology such as the Complex Clear Window.

$2 Polymer Notes

Feel security features

Intaglio Portrait
Genuine Description
  The portrait of the late President Yusof bin Ishak dominates the front of the Portrait series notes. Hand-engraved and printed in intaglio ink, the portrait serves as a unique anti-counterfeiting feature. The fine lines of the engraving are difficult to imitate or reproduce.
Intaglio Prints
Genuine Description

The intaglio (raised) printing gives the note an embossed feel. Widespread use of this intaglio printing on the Singapore Arms, the engraved portrait, the word SINGAPORE and other areas offers good overall tactility. The prints are finely done so that tiny details are clearly defined. The intaglio printing of the denomination numeral of each note also helps recognition by the visually handicapped.
Each note has a Braille code printed in heavy intaglio ink at the top right corner of the front of the note, so that visually handicapped users can recognise the different denominations by touch.

Look security features

Perfect Registration
Genuine Description

The Singapore Lion symbol appearing near the watermark is printed simultaneously with the same image on the front and back of the note. When the note is held up to the light, the Singapore Lion symbol on the front registers perfectly with the image on the back.

The following types of microprints are featured.

Intaglio Microprint
Genuine Description

The text "BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS OF CURRENCY SINGAPORE" or "MONETARY AUTHORITY OF SINGAPORE" is in micro-letters above the four official languages of the word SINGAPORE on the front of the note. To the naked eye, this appears as a single line but the details can be seen legibly with the aid of a magnifying glass.
Reverse Intaglio Microprint
Genuine Description

When magnified, the text 'BCCS' or 'MAS' in micro-letters in the shadow of the denomination numeral can be clearly seen.
Offset Microprint
Genuine Description

Front of the note - When magnified, the text, 'BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS OF CURRENCY SINGAPORE' or 'MONETARY AUTHORITY OF SINGAPORE' forms a continuous pattern inside the denomination numeral.

Back of the note - When magnified, the text 'MAJULAH SINGAPURA' forms a continuous pattern. As for the $1,000 note, the entire lyrics of Majulah Singapura are in microprint.
Paper Notes
Portrait Watermark & Highlight Watermark
Genuine Description

 A three dimensional multi-tone portrait watermark of the late President Yusof bin Ishak 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. 

The monotone highlight watermark is located below the Portrait watermark on the front of the note. It corresponds with the Braille pattern at the top right-hand corner of each denomination. The primary characteristic of the highlight watermark is that its extra thin area makes it appear clear and distinct when the note is held up to the light.  

Security Thread
Genuine Description
 The windowed machine-readable thread is interwoven in the paper running vertically down the face of the note. When held up to the light, the thread appears as a bold continuous line and it shows a series of text featuring the denomination numeral of the note and the word SINGAPORE in the four official languages. The holographic images of the Singapore Lion symbol and the MAS logo can be seen on the silver-coloured thread when the viewing angle is varied.
Polymer Notes
Complex Clear Window
Genuine Description
 A see-through window with a multi-tonal image of the Singapore Arms.
Embossed Clear Window
Genuine Description
 A clear window with the denomination numeral embossed in it, with repetitive patterns of the denomination numeral on the top and bottom. 
Shadow Image
Genuine Description
 A watermark-like image of President Yusof bin Ishak is visible when viewed with transmitted light. 
Security Thread
Genuine Description
 A security thread in the shape of the Singapore island.

Tilt Security Features

Paper Notes
Genuine Description
 The kinegram appears as an octagonal foil on the front of the note. It contains an image of the denomination numeral which shifts as the note is tilted. On varying the viewing angle, one can also see the logo of BCCS or MAS transforming into the letters “BCCS” or the Singapore Lion symbol. The background of the kinegram is composed of shapes representing electron orbitals which change from bright to dark as the note is rotated. This background shimmers in an array of colours when rotated. These features are unique properties to the kinegram and cannot be replicated.
Latent Image
Genuine Description
 Two distinctively different and latent images bearing the BCCS or MAS logo and the Singapore Lion symbol become visible alternately when the note is tilted at various angles. The latent image also glows brightly under ultra-violet light.
Polymer Notes
Stylised Gold Patch
Genuine Description
 The stylised gold patch in the shape of the Singapore Lion symbol, with the texts of the denomination of the note across it on several lines, has an image of the Singapore Arms that will appear at varying angles.

Other Security Features

Paper and Polymer Notes
Ultra-Violet (UV) Visible Features
Genuine Description
 This feature, in the form of the denomination numeral of the note, is present on the front of the note. It is invisible under ordinary lighting condition but glows brightly under UV light.
Fluorescent Ink
Genuine Description
 The fluorescent pigment on the serial numbers and the seal on the front of the note glows brightly under UV light. This feature also appears on some parts of the designs on both the front and back of the note.
Asymmetrical Serial Numbers

Genuine Description
The asymmetrical serial numbering style has progressively larger digits in adjacent positions. One of the serial numbers appears horizontally, the other vertically. The serial numbers both glow under UV light.
Line Structures

Genuine Description
  These line structures appear at the right of the front design and on the areas above and below the portrait watermark on the back of the note. The hidden distortions will appear in these areas when the note is colour-copied.


Paper Notes
Invisible Fluorescent Fibres
Genuine Description
When the note is viewed under UV light, more security features show up. Unlike most commercial papers, the paper of the note does not reflect UV light at all. Fibres which are invisible to the unaided eye are incorporated on both sides of the note surface. The fibres which cannot be seen in ordinary light will glow under UV light. This security feature can only be found on paper notes. 

Identifying Genuine Coins

Genuine coins typically have sharp and defined relief of the design, milled edges, lettering and characters on both sides of the coin. The weight of the genuine coin is also within the standard tolerance of the gazetted coin specifications.

For the Third Series $1 coin, visual security features include:

  • Laser mark micro-engraving. The orchid-shaped laser mark on a genuine coin will show a dense micro-pattern of circles under magnification.
  • Bi-metallic composition. Attempts to replicate bi-metallic coins are usually made using paint instead of two different types of metal.

Counterfeit Coins

Here are some general indicators that a coin may be a counterfeit:

  • Milling or edge patterns are uneven, poorly defined and worn off.
  • The relief of the design, lettering and characters are not distinct, sharp or well defined.
  • Surface of the coin has many pitmarks and appears very porous.
  • Diameter, thickness and weight of fake coins are different from the gazetted coin specifications.
  • The orientation of the obverse and reverse designs is not aligned.

When in possession of suspected counterfeit currency, one should:

  • Refrain from using the currency as circulating counterfeit currency is a criminal offence under the Penal Code.
  • Take down the particulars of the person or name of the retailer who dispensed the counterfeit currency.
  • Keep the currency in the condition as it was received. If it is a note, do not cut it or write anything on it.
  • Approach MAS to verify the authenticity of the currency.
  • If the currency is established as a counterfeit, lodge a report at any police station.