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Hryvnia Banknote Counterfeiting Plummets

Hryvnia Banknote Counterfeiting Plummets

Level of hryvnia banknotes counterfeiting took a three-fold plummet in 2022. 
The data was supported by monitoring of hryvnia banknotes withdrawn from circulation. Last year, approximately 2.2 banknotes were counterfeited per 1 million authentic banknotes (in contrast to 7.1 banknotes in 2021).
For comparison, in the EU member states this indicator is six times higher, nearly 13 counterfeit banknotes per million of authentic banknotes in 2022, according to the ECB (12 banknotes – in 2021).

On counterfeiting domestic currency

In 2022, mostly old-series banknotes were counterfeited, the vast majority (92%) of counterfeit banknotes withdrawn from circulation were of the following three denominations:

  • 500-hryvnia (39% of the total number of withdrawn counterfeit notes and 57% of their total value)
  • UAH 200 (45% and 26%, respectively)
  • UAH 100 (8% and 2%, respectively).

Counterfeit UAH 5, UAH 10, UAH 20, UAH 50, and UAH 1,000 banknotes that the NBU withdrew accounted for just 8% of all withdrawn banknotes.
Consequently, according to 2022 monitoring findings, counterfeit hryvnia banknotes of new design made up only 11% of the total quantity of the counterfeits withdrawn from circulation in the banking system of Ukraine. Accordingly, the number of counterfeit hryvnias per 1 million of new design authentic banknotes was only 0.2 banknotes.

The banknotes of new hryvnia designs (banknotes of UAH 20, UAH 50, UAH 100, UAH 200, and UAH 1000 denominations issued by the NBU into circulation in 2015 – 2020) have got enhanced security features.  In particular, for protecting high-denomination banknotes that are frequently targeted by fraudsters, innovative optically variable elements were applied that can be easily verified by the public and are hard to counterfeit.

Counterfeit foreign currency

In 2022, the following counterfeit foreign currency banknotes were withdrawn from circulation: 

  • U.S. dollars (91% of all counterfeit foreign currency banknotes withdrawn from circulation)
  • euros (8%)
  • Foreign banknotes that were most often counterfeited are the following:
  • USD 50 and USD 100 (23% and 76% of the total number of withdrawn counterfeit US dollar banknotes respectively)
  • EUR 50 and EUR 100 (26% and 28%, respectively, of the total number of withdrawn counterfeit euro banknotes).

How to check if hryvnia banknotes is not a counterfeit?

The counterfeit hryvnia banknotes withdrawn from circulation were mainly of low quality and were targeted at distracted people and retail tellers.  Awareness of the banknote security features and attention when handling money reduce the risk of accepting counterfeits.
Security features on hryvnia banknotes guarantee that counterfeits can be identified on closer visual and tactile inspections without any special detectors.

A banknote’s authenticity can be verified as follows:

1) banknote paper can be felt to touch, as well as some relief images on the obverse owing to a special type of printing

2) hold a banknote up to the light to check for:

  • watermarks (combined watermark for the portrait reflecting the portrait printed on the obverse and highlight watermark for the numeric denomination and hryvnia currency symbol)
  • see-through element that is a fragmented image of the denomination numerals embedded on the obverse and reverse creating a full image free from gaps and shifts when the banknote is held up to the light
  • a stripe fully embedded into the paper showing a direct and inverse images of the denomination, “ГРН” inscription, and Ukraine’s small coat of arms, which can be seen under a magnifying glass when held up to the light

3) tilt a banknote at different angles to check for:

  • an image printed in optically variable ink that changes color when looking at a banknote from different angles (middle and high denomination banknotes designed in 2003 – 2007 and 20 and 50 hryvnias designed in 2018 and 2019 respectively) and produce a dynamic light effect (a SPARK feature on 100, 200, 500 and 1,000 hryvnia banknotes designed in 2014 – 2019)
  • window polymer thread (partially embedded into the paper) of a respective color (e.g. on 200 hryvnia banknotes designed in 2019 – dark blue, 500 hryvnia banknotes designed in 2015 – dark grey) presenting the numeric denomination and hryvnia currency symbol (on banknote denominations ranging from 100 to 500 hryvnias), and Ukraine's small coat of arms (on 1,000 hryvnias – purple) and has a pronounced dynamic light effect (when the banknote is tilted, the background image moves in the opposite direction)
  • latent image of the numerical denomination visible at a sharp angle to the light at eye level (the denomination numerals become visible and are dark against light background if looked at from the long side, or light against dark background if looked at from the short side).

If in doubt about authenticity of banknotes

Be reminded that when in doubt about authenticity and fitness for commerce of hryvnia or foreign currency banknotes, citizens should submit questionable banknotes to banks for further examination by the NBU.
The NBU conducts such examinations free of charge. Based on the findings, customers are reimbursed the respective amount of the domestic currency, if the cash is deemed authentic and fit for commerce. The foreign banknotes that were recognized authentic are returned to the customer.
Counterfeit banknotes are confiscated without reimbursement. The NBU reports to the Economic Security Bureau of Ukraine on the withdrawal of counterfeits, which are then handed over to the authorized police officers for further investigation.Also, despite the full-scale war, last year, the NBU continued to cooperate with the Economic Security Bureau of Ukraine, the Strategic Investigations Department and the Cyber Police Department of the National Police of Ukraine, expert institutions of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine, the Security Service of Ukraine, the European Central Bank, and other central banks.

For reference: 

Please, be informed that the detailed description of all hryvnia banknotes in circulation and their security features can be found on the NBU’s official website.


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