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:

EUR – euro Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France (including French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Mayotte, Réunion, Saint Pierre and Miquelon and the French Southern and Antarctic Territories), Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro, the Netherlands, Portugal, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Vatican City Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Irish, Italian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Maltese, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Slovak, Slovene, Spanish, Swedish

Official bank or department:

Contact information:

Links:

European Central Bank High-resolution banknote images for professional users

Legal framework

Decision ECB/2013/10 of 19 April 2013 on the denominations, specifications, reproduction, exchange and withdrawal of euro banknotes (OJ L 118, 30.4.2013, p. 37)

Guideline ECB/2003/5 of 20 March 2003 on the enforcement of measures to counter non-compliant reproductions of euro banknotes and on the exchange and withdrawal of euro banknotes (OJ L 78, 25.3.2003, p. 20)

Low dpi banknote images

General information about the reproduction of banknotes:

It is an offence to deface this currency.

Reproductions of this currency must not be shown in a context that may cause offence (e.g. as part of pornographic or violent material). Reproductions are also prohibited insofar as they infringe copyright rules attached to the euro banknotes.

Article 1 of Guideline ECB/2003/5 sets out the criteria for non-compliant reproductions and Article 2 of Decision ECB/2013/10 sets out the criteria for unlawful reproductions of euro banknotes. Such reproductions of euro banknotes are in principle not allowed. Article 2(3) of the Decision sets out the criteria for reproductions that are deemed lawful and for which no approval is foreseen. For cases that do not meet these criteria, confirmation of compliance with the reproduction rules must be sought.

Reproduction in printed media:

There are some limitations. Limitations concerning the size vary, for example, depending on whether the reproduction is one or two-sided. Generally, for a reproduction to be lawful, the rules set out in Decision ECB/2013/10 and Guideline ECB/2003/5 must be complied with.

Reproduction in electronic media:

For publicly accessible digital images, a banknote may be reproduced if both the following criteria are met:

  • 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 of the word “SPECIMEN” must be at least 75% of the length of the reproduction and the height of the characters must be at least 15% of the width of the reproduction.