Finance · 11 October 2017

Bank of England launches banknote checking scheme for counterfeits

British pound banknotes
Around 350, 000 fake notes were removed from circulation in 2016
The Bank of England has launched a new scheme to promote banknote checking at the point of sale at cash-handling businesses, via targeted staff training.

Launched on 10 October, the aim of the banknote checking scheme is to significantly reduce the proportion of counterfeit banknotes being accepted, and to reduce the impact of subsequent losses for businesses.

Any retailer or shop owner can sign up as a supporter of the banknote checking scheme, and each supporting business owner will gain access to advice and a range of online training material to encourage banknote checking in their firm.

Training material will include computer-based sessions, webinars, targeted online advice, leaflets, posters and regular updates on issues related to banknotes and relevant for cash-handling businesses.

In a statement, chief cashier at the Bank of England, Victoria Cleland, said: Retailers and other businesses are the front line of defence against counterfeiting.

counterfeit banknotes are only produced because criminals they will find somewhere to spend them and can do so without consequence. We are introducing the banknote checking scheme to make this even more difficult.

Rather than applying the same common framework to all UK businesses, the Bank of England will encourage owners to tailor their banknote checking processes to the specific needs of their business.

Despite that request, the Bank of England has issued a set of six guiding principles for all businesses that sign up for the scheme, including two principles for employees and four rules for the business overall.

The banknote checking scheme is a collaboration between the Bank of England and seven of its ‘strategic partners?: The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS), British Retail Consortium (BRC), Crimestoppers, National Crime Agency (NCA), National Pubwatch, Petrol Retailers Association (PRA) and Retailers Against Crime.

Last year, the Bank of England removed around 350, 000 counterfeit banknotes from circulation, or around 0.1 per cent of the number currently used in the UK, according to figures from the New Scientist.

Over the last ten years, the 20 note has been the most commonly faked, followed by the 10 note, the 50 note and finally the 5 note.



Fred Heritage was previously deputy editor at Business Advice. He has a BA in politics and international relations from the University of Kent and an MA in international conflict from Kings College London.