The Federal Reserve and U.S. Treasury announced plans this summer to release the next generation of redesigned notes, with improved security features to deter counterfeiting. The new design, referred to as NexGen, affects the $100, $50 and $20 notes. Circulation of the NexGen series could begin as early as fall 2003 with the introduction of the redesigned $20 note. The $100 and $50 notes will follow in 12 to 18 months.
The NexGen designs will include the introduction of subtle background colors. While color is not in itself a security feature, the use of color provides the opportunity to add additional features that could assist in deterring counterfeiting. The introduction of additional colors will also help consumers to better identify the different denominations.
The new series will retain current security features, including watermarks similar to the portrait and visible when held up to a light, enhanced security threads that glow under ultraviolet light, micro-printing, and color-shifting ink that changes color when the note is tilted.
To maintain the security of Federal Reserve notes, the Treasury aims to enhance the design of U.S. currency every seven to 10 years. The purpose is to stay ahead of advanced computer technologies used for some types of counterfeiting. According to the U.S. Secret Service, $47.5 million in counterfeit money entered into circulation in fiscal year 2001.
The first initiative of the NexGen launch is already under way. The Bureau of Engraving and Printing is working with manufacturers of currency-accepting machinery to expedite the development of software and other devices, so vending machines and similar equipment accept NexGen notes. The cooperative effort allows a smooth transition for vending machine owners, mass transit agencies, the gaming industry and other proprietors that rely on currency-accepting machinery to conduct business transactions.
The redesign of the $10 and $5 notes is still under consideration, but a redesign of the $2 and $1 notes is not included in the plans for the NexGen series.