German Technology Kinegram Helps New Zealand Curb Counterfeiting

2019-04-22 Mon

A technology called Kinegram is used by New Zealand to protect its banknotes from counterfeiters. Kurz is the company which implements security features for Australian, Canadian and Euro currencies. This company belongs to a privately owned German company. Kurz and the Reserve Bank of New Zealand have been working hand-in-hand from 2013. They introduced new $5 and $10 notes in October 2015 while new $20, $50 and $100 in May 2016.

Kurz purchased OVD Kinegram in 1999. The technology was initially exclusively sold to governments for important documents and it wasn’t available widely. It’s very easy to verify and notice too, unlike a hologram which is the other popular technology. At the same time, it is also impossible to replicate these features. Kinegrams can be made in different colours, a line pattern and monotone. The fine line structure is another unique aspect.

In 2017/18, only 0.8 parts per million counterfeit notes were in circulation in New Zealand. Experts believe that counterfeit rates have reduced drastically. Cellophane or silver foil is mostly used by counterfeiters to fool people and fake notes are sometimes hidden in a bundle. They are picked by a bank or a note sorter and are later handed to police.

There are many ways in which fake notes can be easily identified. The large clear window contains a hologram depicting a fern and a map of New Zealand. The bird featured on the left-hand side is also featured here. An embossed print denomination is placed below the hologram. Polymer notes and their inks are water resistant and hence you won’t find any blotches on real notes. The microprint letters "RBNZ" can be seen through a magnifying glass on the large numeral. A foil inside the window on the obverse reads "RBNZ 10 TE PUTEA MATUA 10". The numbers "10101010..." and "RBNZ", between New Zealand and Aotearoa can be seen on the reverse.

The raised printing can be felt with your fingers on a real note. The serial number for each note should be unique. Real notes use special inks which look dull and only certain features glow under UV light. However, an entire fake note will glow under UV light as they are made of commercial paper. Unlike fake notes, the real ones feature clear images. The colour of the bird changes and a rolling bar moves diagonally across upon tilting the note. Irregular shapes on both sides of a real note come together to form the denomination when the note is held against a light source. Counterfeits are generally made of paper. They tear easily by applying minimal force, unlike real polymer notes which are much stronger.

Image Courtesy: Google Images