How to Identify a Fake 100 Dollar Bill


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The 100 dollar bill is a  common and one of the most used denominations of everyday life. That’s why counterfeiters target this denomination as it is easily usable in the market. These fake notes are used to deceive people into accepting them as legitimate currency. Therefore, it is important for any individual or business to understand how to identify a fake 100 dollar bill. This guide is for retailers, cashiers, and security professionals with the knowledge and skills needed to detect fake hundred dollar bills efficiently.

Security Features on a Genuine 100 Dollar Bill

The United States government has incorporated some security features on the $100 bills. So that none can make it duplicate. These are the signs of any real bill. But you have to understand these features first for the difference between real and fake money. These are some key elements:

1. 3-D Security Ribbon

Genuine bills have blue 3-D security ribbons. It is woven into the paper not printed on the paper. If you tilt the note front and back, the bells and 100s will move side to side on the ribbon. And you titled it side to side the bells will move up and down.

2. Bell in the Inkwell

A color-shifting ink bell in an inkwell can be seen on the front side of the notes. If you tilt it, it will change color from copper to green. This feature creates an illusion that appears and disappears within the inkwell.

3. Color-Shifting Ink

Moreover, in the number 100 at the right lower corner of the note, there is also color shifting ink that changes color copper to green. It is easy to check.

4. Watermark

A watermark of a faint image of Benjamin Franklin in the blank space can be seen when the bill holds on light. It is visible on both sides of this denomination.

5. Security Thread

A security thread running vertically to the left of the portrait is visible on the light. This features glow and show pink color under the ultraviolet light. On the alternation pattern, there is printed the “USA” and the numeral “100” . This feature is hard to replicate and can’t be seen on the fake 100 dollar bill. 

6. Microprinting

Tiny text is present on the many areas of the notes. It also has on the border and on the portrait. It’s called microprinting. On real notes, this microprinting is crisp and clear. But on the fake hundred dollar bills, these are blurry.

Step-by-Step Guide to Identifying a Fake 100 Dollar Bill

Physical Inspection

  1. Feel the Paper: Genuine currency is produced by the special paper that is not like the regular paper. The paper used to produce the bills has a unique texture and slightly raised ink. You can feel it by the touch of your fingers.
  2. Check the Portrait: The portrait of the real bills is sharp and clear. Counterfeit bill’s portrait may be blurry or don’t exist. 
  3. Examine the Borders: The orders on the real notes are clear and unbroken. Fake money may have blurry or broken borders.

Visual Inspection

  1. Hold the Bill Up to the Light: Try to find the security thread and watermark as we discussed above.
  2. Tilt the Bill: Check the color-shifting ink and the 3-D security ribbon.
  3. Use a Magnifying Glass: This will allow you to find the microprinting and other details.

The Role of Technology in Counterfeit Detection

Technology makes the detection process easy. Here are some tools you can use to identify the fake money:

UV Lights

Some features like security threads are visible only on the Ultraviolet (UV) lights. Normal light can’t detect it. It glows on the real notes where fake hundred dollar bills don’t  show it.

Counterfeit Detector Pens

These pens contain an iodine solution that reacts with the starch in regular paper, producing a dark mark. Genuine currency paper does not contain starch, so the mark remains pale or invisible.

At The Bottom

Fake hundred dollar bills detection skill is very important for those handling cash regularly. If you understand the security features of real notes and can check the physical and visual inspections, it will allow you to avoid common mistakes that can protect your business from fraud.

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