Security Technology

An in-depth look at Canadian banknote security features

Security features for banknotes around the world come in various forms. From holograms, to see through windows, to covert text, banknotes are outfitted with many different high-tech elements that help prevent counterfeiting. This article details the security features specific to the Canadian $20 bill.


#1 – Metallic Stripe (holographic stripe): Numbers and two-tone maple leaves in the metallic stripe change colour and light up when the bill is tilted. The numbers on the stripe match the bill’s value.

#2 – Ghost Image (watermark): When held to the light, the ghost image that appears matches the portrait. The number above the ghost image’s shoulder also matches the bill’s value, and the dashes form a continuous line.

#3 – Dashes (security thread): The dashes change from gold to green when the bill is tilted, and tiny numbers next to “CAN” match the bill’s value.

#4 – Puzzle Number (see-through number): When held to the light, a seemingly “broken” number matching the bill’s value is filled in by stripes making the number “whole.”

#5 – Raised Ink (intaglio): The large denomination number, the portrait, the coat of arms, and the text “Bank of Canada – Banque du Canada” are all printed with raised ink that makes those parts of the bill feel thicker.

#6 – UV (fluorescence): Under a UV light, “Bank of Canada – Banque du Canada” text and a number matching the bill’s value glow in red and yellow. Scattered red and yellow fibres on both sides of the bill also appear.

Bank of Canada: “Bank Notes”


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