The US government has used the Internet as the exclusive platform to launch its new, more secure $5.00 bill, due to hit the streets in early 2008.
Officials from the US Treasury, Federal Reserve Board, Bureau of Engraving and Printing, and US Secret Service were part of yesterday's "Wi-5" preview, an entirely digital event which emphasised the government's commitment to staying ahead of counterfeiters.
The live "unveiling" of the $5.00 bill design, which featured government officials discussing currency security efforts, took place on www.moneyfactory.gov/newmoney. Podcasts featuring important information about the new $5 bill are also posted on the site.
"The government uses the best tools available so that it will be unlikely that you will receive a counterfeit bill," says Treasurer of the United States Anna Escobedo Cabral. "Improved security features are at the heart of this currency series – security features that are easy for everyone to use. Learn how to use them, so you don't lose your hard-earned money in the unlikely event that someone tries to pass a counterfeit bill to you."
The new $5.00 bill incorporates security features that are easy to use by cash handlers and consumers alike. These include:
* Watermarks: There are now two watermarks on the redesigned $5.00 bill. A large number "5" watermark is located to the right of the portrait replacing the previous watermark portrait of President Lincoln found on the older design $5.00 bills. A second watermark – a column of three smaller "5"s – 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 $5.00 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.
"Our goal is to seamlessly introduce the redesigned bills to the public by working primarily with financial institutions in the United States and around the world, as well as with foreign central banks," says Michael Lambert, assistant director: Division of Reserve Bank Operations and Payment Systems, Federal Reserve Board. "There is no need to trade in your old $5 bills for new ones. All US currency issued by the U. government – old and new – is legal tender and continues to be redeemable at full face value."
Because the $5.00 bill is heavily used in vending and transit farecard machines, the government began informing the manufacturers and end-users of those machines about the upcoming new $5.00 bill more than a year ago, to provide ample time to adjust them to accept the new design.
"We are working with manufacturers of ATMs and other cash-oriented machines to ensure they have the information they need to adjust their machines to accept the new bills," says Larry Felix, Director of the Treasury's Bureau of Engraving and Printing. "Just as importantly, we are educating cash handlers on how to use the improved security features. They are the first line of defense against counterfeiting, and their familiarity with the new design and its improved security features is vital to a smooth transition."