How to tell if your money is genuine or counterfeit

Wednesday March 18 2020

A sample of a fake 1,000 Kenya shilling note. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP


Following the discovery of fake money at a Barclays Bank branch in Nairobi on Tuesday, Kenyans should be concerned about the authenticity of currency notes in their pockets.

How easy or difficult it is to tell counterfeit currency depends on the accuracy and attention to detail.

However, one can tell if the money they get from the shop, bus or even the ATM is genuine or fake.

1. Check for the water mark on the Kenya shilling notes. On the top side of the note that has the photo of the first Kenyan President Jomo Kenyatta, a water mark of a lion should be visible when the note is held against a source of light. The denomination of the note should be imprinted below the water mark.

READ: Fake money: 'Sh32bn' seized

2. Security band: Every currency note should have a shiny band that runs through its face on the right side. On the band, the currency value and CBK is written.



3. Pay attention to detail: Note the writing on the bills. The words Banki Kuu ya Kenya should appear at the top right front side of the note, with Central Bank of Kenya appearing beneath it. The coat of arms with the two lions holding spears and a shield should be beneath that. Also check for the amount in words and the signatures of the CBK governor and member.

READ: Sh2bn fake cash found at Barclays Bank

4. Serial number: Every note has a unique serial number on the bottom right.

5. Date: Check the date on the top left corner of the bill, the day, month and year the bill was made.


6. Texture: Keep in mind that genuine currency is not made of paper but a fine linen, a type of cloth. Bank notes should feel different from paper.  

7. The use of a special black light can reveal if a note is genuine or not. This light is mostly used in banks, foreign exchange bureaus and of late by M-Pesa agents.

If you are in doubt of the authenticity of bank notes in your possession, take them to the bank for verification.