The new $100 bill hits the streets today. Here are 5 ways to tell they’re real.

October 8, 2013

(U.S. Federal Reserve)

The country's old Benjamins will be joined Tuesday by a new $100 bill — 3.5 billion of them — that's been redesigned by the Federal Reserve. In addition to adding a handful of security features meant to thwart counterfeiting, the Fed has also made use of two new technologies we haven't seen before. It's the first rethink of one of America's most iconic symbols in 17 years.

Blue security ribbon: This is one of two new anti-counterfeit technologies. The ribbon is made up of hundreds of thousands of microlenses that cause the icons within it to shift from little Liberty Bells to a "100" pattern, and back again, as you tilt the bill.

(U.S. Federal Reserve)
(U.S. Federal Reserve)

Color-changing bell: The Fed is also debuting a copper-colored inkwell. Inside the inkwell is another Liberty Bell, which changes from copper to green depending on your perspective.


(U.S. Federal Reserve)

Raised printing: If you run your finger along Ben Franklin's shoulder, you'll feel texture.

(U.S. Federal Reserve)
(U.S. Federal Reserve)

Microprinting: Around Franklin's jacket collar, you'll see the words "The United States of America" printed in small type. "One Hundred USA" runs along the quill in the background. And the outline of the familiar portrait watermark is made up of "USA 100."

Redesigned back: The other side of the bill features a much larger denomination indicator, and instead of showing the front of Independence Hall, the new $100 bill shows the building from the rear. It's meant to force would-be counterfeiters to change all of the plates they use to print fake money, an expensive undertaking.


(U.S. Federal Reserve)

Most of us aren't Bond villains who make million-dollar deals in cash. But with billions of these new bills in circulation, we're bound to see one in the wild sooner or later.

VIDEO: New $100 aimed at fighting back against counterfeiters.

Brian Fung covers technology for The Washington Post.
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Brian Fung · October 8, 2013