Security Features

Security Features on U.S. Currency

The Federal Reserve Board currently issues $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $50, and $100 notes. Each denomination has several key security features, such as a 3-D Security Ribbon, a portrait watermark, color-shifting ink, and a security thread.

Click on the notes below to learn about each one.

Quick Ways to Authenticate

Even when pressed for time, you can still take simple steps to authenticate the notes you are handed. All you need to do is feel, tilt, and check.

Feel the paper
Tilt the note
Check with light
Check with UV light

$5 Note

The 2004 style and 1996 style $5 note have common security features. Both include a watermark located to the right of the portrait (A) and a security thread (B)

    Watermark

    The 2004 style of the $5 note includes two watermarks. To the right of the portrait of President Lincoln, there is a large 5. To the left of the portrait, there are three smaller 5s repeated in a vertical line. You’ll need to hold the note to light to see the watermarks. You should be able to see the watermarks from the front and back of the note.

    Security Thread

    The security thread is located to the right of the portrait of President Lincoln. On the 2004 style note, the security thread should read USA 5. You can see the security thread by holding the note to light. The security thread is visible from both the front and back of the note.

    Watermark

    The 2004 style of the $5 note includes two watermarks. To the right of the portrait of President Lincoln, there is a large 5. To the left of the portrait, there are three smaller 5s repeated in a vertical line. You’ll need to hold the note to light to see the watermarks. You should be able to see the watermarks from the front and back of the note.

    Watermark

    The 2004 style of the $5 note includes two watermarks. To the right of the portrait of President Lincoln, there is a large 5. To the left of the portrait, there are three smaller 5s repeated in a vertical line. You’ll need to hold the note to light to see the watermarks. You should be able to see the watermarks from the front and back of the note.

    Security Thread

    The security thread is located to the right of the portrait of President Lincoln. On the 2004 style note, the security thread should read USA 5. You can see the security thread by holding the note to light. The security thread is visible from both the front and back of the note.

    Watermark

    The 2004 style of the $5 note includes two watermarks. To the right of the portrait of President Lincoln, there is a large 5. To the left of the portrait, there are three smaller 5s repeated in a vertical line. You’ll need to hold the note to light to see the watermarks. You should be able to see the watermarks from the front and back of the note.

    $10 Note

    The $10 note has several key security features: a portrait watermark of Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton (A), color-shifting ink (B), and a security thread (C)

      Watermark

      A watermark of Secretary Hamilton is located to the right of the portrait. You'll need to hold the note to light to see the portrait watermark, which should be visible from the front and back of the note.

      Color-Shifting Ink

      If you tilt the $10 note, the 10 at the lower right-hand corner of the note will change colors. For the 2004 style, the color will change from copper to green when tilted. For the 1996 style, the color will change from green to black.

      Security Thread

      The security thread on the $10 note is located to the right of the portrait of Secretary Hamilton. On both styles of the $10 note, the security thread reads USA TEN and includes a small flag. To see the security thread, hold it to light. The security thread is visible from both the front and back of the note.

      Watermark

      A watermark of Secretary Hamilton is located to the right of the portrait. You'll need to hold the note to light to see the portrait watermark, which should be visible from the front and back of the note.

      Color-Shifting Ink

      If you tilt the $10 note, the 10 at the lower right-hand corner of the note will change colors. For the 2004 style, the color will change from copper to green when tilted. For the 1996 style, the color will change from green to black.

      Security Thread

      The security thread on the $10 note is located to the right of the portrait of Secretary Hamilton. On both styles of the $10 note, the security thread reads USA TEN and includes a small flag. To see the security thread, hold it to light. The security thread is visible from both the front and back of the note.

      $20 Note

      The $20 note has several key security features: a portrait watermark of President Andrew Jackson (A), color-shifting ink (B), and a security thread (C)

        Watermark

        A watermark of President Jackson is located to the right of the portrait. You'll need to hold the note to light to see the portrait watermark, which should be visible from the front and back of the note.

        Color-Shifting Ink

        If you tilt the note, the 20 in the lower right-hand corner of the note will change colors. For the 2004 style, the color will change from copper to green when tilted. For the 1996 style, the color will change from green to black.

        Security Thread

        The security thread on the $20 note is located to the left of the portrait of President Jackson. On both the 1996 and 2004 styles of the $20 note, the security thread reads USA TWENTY and includes a small flag. To see the security thread, hold it to light. The security thread is visible from both the front and back of the note.

        Watermark

        A watermark of President Jackson is located to the right of the portrait. You'll need to hold the note to light to see the portrait watermark, which should be visible from the front and back of the note.

        Color-Shifting Ink

        If you tilt the note, the 20 in the lower right-hand corner of the note will change colors. For the 2004 style, the color will change from copper to green when tilted. For the 1996 style, the color will change from green to black.

        Security Thread

        The security thread on the $20 note is located to the left of the portrait of President Jackson. On both the 1996 and 2004 styles of the $20 note, the security thread reads USA TWENTY and includes a small flag. To see the security thread, hold it to light. The security thread is visible from both the front and back of the note.

        $50 Note

        The $50 note has several key security features: a portrait watermark of President Ulysses S. Grant (A), color-shifting ink (B), and a security thread (C)

          Watermark

          A watermark of President Grant is located to the right of the portrait. You'll need to hold the note to light to see the portrait watermark, which should be visible from the front and back of the note.

          Color-Shifting Ink

          If you tilt the note, the 50 in the lower right-hand corner of the note will change color. For the 2004 style, the color will change from copper to green when tilted. For the 1996 style, the color will change from green to black.

          Security Thread

          The security thread on the $50 note is located to the right of the portrait of President Grant. On both the 1996 style and 2004 style $50 note, the security thread reads USA 50 and includes a small flag. To see the thread, hold it to light. The thread is visible from both the front and back of the note.

          Watermark

          A watermark of President Grant is located to the right of the portrait. You'll need to hold the note to light to see the portrait watermark, which should be visible from the front and back of the note.

          Color-Shifting Ink

          If you tilt the note, the 50 in the lower right-hand corner of the note will change color. For the 2004 style, the color will change from copper to green when tilted. For the 1996 style, the color will change from green to black.

          Security Thread

          The security thread on the $50 note is located to the right of the portrait of President Grant. On both the 1996 style and 2004 style $50 note, the security thread reads USA 50 and includes a small flag. To see the thread, hold it to light. The thread is visible from both the front and back of the note.

          $100 Note

          The current style $100 note has several key security features: a 3-D Security Ribbon (A), a portrait watermark of Benjamin Franklin (B), color-shifting ink (C), and a security thread (D)

            3-D Security Ribbon

            The current design $100 note has a 3-D Security Ribbon, which is located to the right of the portrait of Benjamin Franklin. Tilt the note back and forth while focusing on the blue ribbon. You will see the bells change to 100s as they move.

            Watermark

            You'll need to hold the note to light to see the portrait watermark, which is located to the right of the portrait of Benjamin Franklin. The watermark is visible from the front and back of the note when you hold it to light.

            Color-Shifting Ink

            If you tilt the note, the 100 in the lower right-hand corner of the note will change color. For the 2013 style, the color will change from copper to green when tilted. For the 1996 style, the color will change from green to black.

            Color-Shifting Ink

            The current design $100 note also features color-shifting ink in the Bell in the Inkwell. If you tilt the note, the image of the bell shifts color from copper to green—an effect that makes it seem as if the bell is appearing and disappearing in the inkwell.

            Security Thread

            The security thread on the $100 note is located to the left of the portrait of Benjamin Franklin. On both the 1996 style and 2013 style $100 note, the security thread reads USA 100. To see the security thread, hold it to light. Like the watermark, the security thread is visible from both the front and back of the note.

            3-D Security Ribbon

            The current design $100 note has a 3-D Security Ribbon, which is located to the right of the portrait of Benjamin Franklin. Tilt the note back and forth while focusing on the blue ribbon. You will see the bells change to 100s as they move.

            Watermark

            You'll need to hold the note to light to see the portrait watermark, which is located to the right of the portrait of Benjamin Franklin. The watermark is visible from the front and back of the note when you hold it to light.

            Color-Shifting Ink

            If you tilt the note, the 100 in the lower right-hand corner of the note will change color. For the 2013 style, the color will change from copper to green when tilted. For the 1996 style, the color will change from green to black.

            Color-Shifting Ink

            The current design $100 note also features color-shifting ink in the Bell in the Inkwell. If you tilt the note, the image of the bell shifts color from copper to green—an effect that makes it seem as if the bell is appearing and disappearing in the inkwell.

            Security Thread

            The security thread on the $100 note is located to the left of the portrait of Benjamin Franklin. On both the 1996 style and 2013 style $100 note, the security thread reads USA 100. To see the security thread, hold it to light. Like the watermark, the security thread is visible from both the front and back of the note.