Counterfeiting is a high cost game of cat-and-mouse in many countries. Manufacturing technologies like 3D printing and the widespread utilization of international factories has lead to a new prevalence of counterfeit goods that range from designer purses to automotive parts.

These trends exasperate legitimate producers and can sometimes create incredibly risky situations for unknowing consumers. Still, one of the most expensive counterfeiting problems around the world is one of the oldest: counterfeit currency.

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In the U.S. alone, counterfeiting costs business hundreds of billions of dollars. Even as the government and independent organizations try to find new and better ways to thwart counterfeiters, the counterfeiters get better at passing off fakes.

However, the use of polymers has made it easier to hinder counterfeiting efforts and ensure that currency transactions are all the more secure.

Image Source: CBC News

A Growing International Trend
Polymer banknotes are used in countries that include Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Scotland, and Canada, and they’ve been adopted for a few reasons, but chief among them are protection of authenticity.

Most recently, India has decided to conduct field trials using a billion 10-rupee notes made with plastic, potentially joining over twenty other countries in the move to polymer based currency.

Tough To Duplicate, Easy to Spot
The unique qualities of a polymer banknote allow for a range of added security features that can’t be easily imitated or used on paper bills, such as OVD transparent windows and a unique feel that can be particularly difficult to duplicate.

The anti-counterfeiting advantages of polymer have been emphasized by reports coming from Canada. According to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), counterfeit Canadian banknotes have fallen out of circulation by 74% in just one year.

The RCMP’s National Anti-Counterfeiting Bureau has said that 45,000 counterfeit banknotes were once collected on a monthly basis. Now that number has dropped to about 1,500.

The bureau has said that the design and security features of a polymer bank note are especially tough to imitate through conventional counterfeiting means, and the lacking qualities are a lot easier to spot.

Image Source: Coin World

Should The U.S. Switch?
Counterfeiters aren’t about to give up, however. Technologies like 3D printing could enable criminals to catch up in terms of imitating the unique look and feel of a polymer banknote.

Around the world, government agencies are still trying to stay ahead of increasingly sophisticated fakes, including those made with polymer. In the meantime, the U.S. may need to up its guard even further.

With the challenge of duplicating polymer banknotes in other countries, criminals may shift their focus to national currency that’s still printed on paper. With that in mind, do you think the United States should consider switching to polymer currency?

Tell us what you think in the comments.

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