Banknotes & Counterfeit Deterrence

Every country has legal restrictions on the reproduction of banknote images. The counterfeiting of currency is a crime, and while restrictions vary from country to country, in some countries, any reproduction of banknote images – even for artistic or advertising uses – is strictly forbidden. Even in countries that allow some limited use of banknote images, there are specific rules and requirements. This website will provide you with information about reproducing banknote images and links to country-specific websites for further guidance.


While the overall economic losses to society from counterfeiting of currency are generally limited, the victims who suffer the most harm are individuals and businesses, because no one reimburses those who accept counterfeit notes. Counterfeit currency can also undermine confidence in the payment system, making the public uncertain about accepting cash for transactions.

The Central Bank Counterfeit Deterrence Group (CBCDG) is responsible for this website. A counterfeit deterrence system (CDS) has been developed by the CBCDG to deter the use of personal computers, digital imaging equipment, and software in the counterfeiting of banknotes. The CDS has been voluntarily adopted by hardware and software manufacturers, and prevents personal computers and digital imaging tools from capturing or reproducing the image of a protected banknote. The technology does not have the capacity to track the use of a personal computer or digital imaging tools.

For information specific to a particular country or the banknote image you want to use, click on the appropriate region on the map or select the relevant country or currency from the list.

1.

Regions:

Select a region from the list or click on the map below
 

Currency:

Countries:

Languages:

CHF – Swiss franc Switzerland, Liechtenstein English, French, German

Official bank or department:

Contact information:

Links:

Swiss National Bank

Cash Division/Administration
Bundesplatz 1
CH-3003 Berne
Switzerland

Tel.: +41 31 327 0211
Fax: +41 31 327 0228
E-mail: bargeld@snb.ch

Instruction sheet

Low dpi banknote images

General information about the reproduction of banknotes:

It is forbidden to change parts of the banknotes, as this may confuse the public.

If only part of a banknote is reproduced – for example, the head of the relevant person or a work depicted on the reverse of the banknote – then copyright issues may arise, which fall outside the competence of the Swiss National Bank.

Reproduction in printed media:

Reproductions for which we do not see any risk of confusion with genuine banknotes, are defined in our document “Instruction sheet”.

For print media, we supply on loan either digital images of our banknotes (150 dpi) or physical banknotes (both include the word “SPECIMEN” printed diagonally across the banknote). These will be sent only if the reason for wanting to reproduce banknotes is declared and the terms of the “contract” accepted (by sending back the signed letter containing the conditions). Moreover, the passing of these images or banknotes to third parties is strictly prohibited, and all materials provided must be returned to the Swiss National Bank. The users will be responsible for limiting access to these materials.

All negatives, plates, positives, digitised storage media, graphics files, magnetic media, optical storage devices and other devices used in the making of the illustration that contain complete or partial images of the illustration must be destroyed, deleted or erased after their final use.

Reproduction in electronic media:

For publicly accessible digital images, a banknote has to meet both of the following criteria:

  • The resolution of the image is 72 dpi or less.
  • The word “SPECIMEN” is printed diagonally across the reproduction in a contrasting colour. The length and width of the word “SPECIMEN” must be at least 75% of the length and 15% of the width of the reproduction respectively.