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Aug 29, 2013 - New $100 to Face Another Delay?

Sean Trundy

Yet Another Production Delay may Affect Release Date for New $100 Bill

New Anti-Counterfeiting Features Plague Manufacturing Processes

New $100 Bill Production

The Federal Reserve originally planned to put a redesigned $100 bill into circulation by 2011.

The new design includes tiny 3-D mirrors that create an optical "movement" effect when  the bill is tilted back and forth. Also included is a revised hidden message on Ben Franklin's collar and a Liberty Bell that changes color.

Instead, the project has been plagued by setback after setback and, according to The New Yorker, yet another production error has postponed the new bills again. 

A massive printing error, in which some notes were left with a blank spot, prevented the new $100 from going public in 2011. Now, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) says the latest batch of bills have been beset by problems with "mashing," which occurs when too much ink is applied to the paper and the artwork's lines aren't as crisp as they should be.

Recent batches of cash from the Washington, D.C., plant contained "clearly unacceptable" notes mixed with passable ones, according to a July memo to employees from Larry Felix, the bureau's director. The Fed is returning more than 30 million $100 notes and demanding a refund, while another $30 billion dollars' worth waits to be examined.

The Fed has told the BEP that it won't accept any $100 notes made at the Washington, D.C., facility until further notice.

Thanks to the quality-control breakdown, the bureau now has very little breathing room to hit an Oct. 8 deadline for delivering this year's cash orders and getting the new $100 bill into circulation. The country's other money printer, in Fort Worth, Texas, has been ordered to step up production and given a harsh ultimatum from Felix: "If the BEP does not meet the order, the BEP does not get paid."

How To Authenticate the New $100 Note

When the new $100 bill does finally reach the public, they will once-again be faced with adapting to a new-design banknote that is signifcantly different than other notes already in circulation.

While the "overt" security features on the new designdescribe the image do promise to be easier to use and should make accepting the new bill much less-prone to counterfeiting, the fact remains that every single security feature ever created by any government currency production facility has, eventually, been overcome by counterfeiting operations.

Another issue that faces businesses that accept U.S. currency is that the U.S. does not withdraw previous designs from circulation. This means that the problems faced by businesses accepting the current $100 bill will not end - at least, not for several years while the banking system captures and remits the current note to the Federal Reserve for destruction.

This means that front-line employees charged with accepting currency must be armed with knowledge about what to look for on both types of note.

For this reason, it still makes sense to consider currency authentication equipment at your point-of-transaction locations.

As discussed in our recent blog post, the new $100 bill and the "current" $100 bill both contain the same ultra-violet security feature.  Thus, there is no reason to hesitate in purchasing UV Authentication equipment for your locations. 

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