Biannual information on euro banknote counterfeiting

By user
In July 29, 2015

Source: ECB

17 July 2015: Press Release of The European Central Bank (ECB)

  • 454,000 counterfeit euro banknotes were withdrawn from circulation in the first half of 2015.
  • 86% of the counterfeits are €20 and €50 banknotes.

In the first half of 2015 a total of 454,000 counterfeit euro banknotes were withdrawn from circulation –10.5% down on the figure for the second half of 2014, but still higher than in the first half of 2014. The number of counterfeits continues to remain very low in comparison with the increasing number of genuine banknotes in circulation (over 17 billion during the first half of 2015).

The half-yearly trend:

Period 2012/1 2012/2 2013/1 2013/2 2014/1 2014/2 2015/1
Number of counterfeits 251,000 280,000 317,000 353,000 331,000 507,000 454,000


During that period:

  • the €20 and €50 continued to be the most counterfeited banknotes. Compared with the figures reported for the second half of 2014, the proportion of counterfeit €20 notes decreased slightly and that of counterfeit €50 notes increased. Together, they accounted for 86% of the counterfeits;
  • most (97.9%) of the counterfeits were found in euro area countries. Only around 1.6% were found in EU Member States outside the euro area and less than 0.5% were found in other parts of the world.

Ever since the first euro series was issued, the Eurosystem – i.e. the European Central Bank (ECB) and the national central banks of the euro area – has urged people to stay vigilant when receiving banknotes. Genuine banknotes can be easily recognised using the simple “feel, look and tilt” method.