WASHINGTON — If you notice something different about the $5 bills at your laundry, your eyes aren’t deceiving you. The U.S. government has just released a new $5 bill that includes several security features. What may really catch your eye is a large, purple numeral “5” on its side and a purple seal on the front, continuing the increased use of color on bills.
“It only takes a few seconds to check the new $5 bill to make sure it’s genuine,” says Michael Lambert, assistant director, division of reserve bank operations and payment systems at the Federal Reserve Board. “If you know how to check its security features, you can easily be confident its real.”
Manufacturers and users of cash-handling equipment are also an important audience for education about new currency. “Because the $5 bill is used so heavily in vending, self-service and transit farecard machines, we began working with the manufacturers of those and other cash-oriented machines in 2006 to make sure they had enough time to make the necessary adjustments that would allow for their machines to accept the new $5 bill,” explains Pamela Gardiner, deputy director of the treasury’s bureau of engraving and printing.
The new $5 bill incorporates state-of-the-art security features that are easy to use by cash handlers and consumers alike. Hold the bill to the light to check for these features:
• Watermarks: There are now two watermarks on the redesigned bill. A large number “5” watermark is located in a blank space to the right of the portrait, replacing the previous watermark portrait of President Lincoln found on the older-design $5 bills. A second watermark — a column of three smaller “5s” — has been added to the new $5 bill design and is positioned to the left of the portrait.
• Security Thread: The embedded security thread runs vertically and is now located to the right of the portrait on the redesigned bill. The letters “USA” followed by the number “5” in an alternating pattern are visible along the thread from both sides of the bill. The thread glows blue when held under ultraviolet light.