Handicapping Currency Design: Counterfeit Deterrence and Visual Accessibility in the United States and Abroad

FRB of St. Louis Working Paper No. 2007-011B

74 Pages Posted: 9 Mar 2007

See all articles by Marcela M. Williams

Marcela M. Williams

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, Research Division

Richard G. Anderson

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis - Research Division

Date Written: June 2007

Abstract

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.

Keywords: currency design, banknotes, counterfeiting, visual impairment, accessibility

JEL Classification: E42, E51

Suggested Citation

Williams, Marcela M. and Anderson, Richard G., Handicapping Currency Design: Counterfeit Deterrence and Visual Accessibility in the United States and Abroad (June 2007). FRB of St. Louis Working Paper No. 2007-011B. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=968711 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.968711

Marcela M. Williams (Contact Author)

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, Research Division ( email )

411 Locust St
Saint Louis, MO 63011
United States

Richard G. Anderson

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis - Research Division ( email )

411 Locust St
Saint Louis, MO 63011
United States

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