A New U.S. $100 Bill? Is It Good Enough to Stop International Counterfeiting?
A redesigned U.S. $100 bill will go into circulation on October 8, 2013, the Federal Reserve announced on Wednesday, April 24. It has the same ol’ Ben Franklin on the front. Otherwise, it is very different.
So what’s different or new?
The $100 bill has a special blue security ribbon woven into the bill’s fabric. This is intended to prevent overseas counterfeiters from making copies, something they have become very good at.
The U.S. Treasury Department has added other features as well:
– An image of the Liberty Bell
– A large “100” which changes color, copper-to-green, when the bill is tilted
– A second interwoven strip which is visible when the bill is held to the light
So why the $100 makeover?
For years federal officials and agencies have been battling international counterfeiting. The primary overseas source has been North Korea, which has produced high-quality fake “super notes” in vast amounts. And the $100 Franklin has been the most-counterfeited of all U.S. currency.
More than 2 years behind schedule – it was supposed to debut in 2011 – the U.S. Treasury Department put it on hold because of printing press problems.
Now, the Federal Reserve assures, all “the bugs” have been worked out.
The older, current Franklin is still good. It will be gradually phased out as it goes through the Federal reserve system, when those bills will be destroyed.
Questions remain, however:
– What was/is the exact cost of the new $100 bill makeover? (This is ultimately tax payer money. It seems logical the cost could be significant. The U.S. Treasury hasn’t released any numbers.)
– Is this bill too gimmicky for general use? Or is it just too gimmicky altogether?
– How long before an international crime ring becomes smart enough to counter these new counterfeiting counter measures? (Given the resilience and creativity of international organized crime, something’s got to give.)
If and when, one can only imagine what the next $100 may look like. Thick as a brick? Chock full of electronics, etc. like a smart phone? Could be a new fashion field for wallet designers.
— Stephen Heath-Jones