What to look for when checking the authenticity of a banknote of 20 euros

20 euro fake Money

The 20 euro banknote is the most counterfeited. Fraudsters improve their skills every year, so you need to be able to protect yourself from trouble and know how to distinguish the original 20 euros from a fake.

20 euro
The €20 banknote is often counterfeited.

What does a 20 euro banknote look like?

For the first time, the world heard about the euro on January 1, 1999. However, during the first 3 years it was a conditional currency. Cashing out took place only on January 1, 2002.

Now the euro is used and issued in 22 European countries. The dimensions of the banknote are 133 × 72 mm. It is made in shades of blue. At face value, this is the third banknote among the euros, in front of it are only 5 and 10.

All banknotes of the European currency are decorated with images of bridges and arched structures. Only the architectural styles differ. On banknotes with a face value of 20, you can see structures related to the Gothic art direction. The depicted architecture dates from the 13th-14th centuries.

As with other banknotes, the following can be seen on the 20 euro banknotes:

  • Name;
  • dignity;
  • elements of protection;
  • EU flag and stars;
  • signature of the head of the ECB;
  • year of issue.

Another feature of the euro currency is the location of the issuer code in different parts of the banknote, depending on the denomination. On the 20 note, the inscription is in the 9 o'clock star position.

This means that you need to find a star on the banknote that corresponds in position to the number 9 on the clock. On it, near the original banknote, is the issuer code.

How to distinguish a real banknote from a fake one: what to look for

Read also: one hundred euro how to spot a fake

The euro has one of the highest levels of protection against counterfeiting. However, this is the main difficulty, because. it is difficult for a simple person to remember the abundance of distinguishing features.

Some features of counterfeit banknotes:

  1. Increased banknote thickness.
  2. No rustling when the bill is crumpled.
  3. Smoothness, lack of relief.
  4. There is no rainbow image on the holograms.
  5. Lack of magnetic protection or its distortion.
  6. A more intense stellar circle under ultraviolet light.
  7. Imitation of a security thread.

You also need to remember that since 2015, euros of the new series have been used in circulation. The Republic of Malta and Cyprus have been added to the card, the image of which is present on the back of the bill. And the inscription “20 euros” on the new money is made not only in Latin, but also in Cyrillic, since Bulgaria joined the EU.

Read also: real 100 dollars - how to determine

20 euro
This is how a banknote of 20 euros looks like.


The first thing you should pay attention to is the paper. Euros are made from a special cotton fiber. Therefore, bills are moderately dense and rustle when interacting with them. During the crush, you can hear a characteristic crunch.


Thanks to a special type of printing, the banknote has a relief. This is one of the distinguishing features of the currency. Moreover, the banknotes issued in 2015 are more embossed, since the money was developed, including with a focus on people with low vision.

The inscriptions, the central figure, the denomination - all this has volume.

In addition, on the sides of the bill there are diagonal serifs for machine processing, which are also embossed.

On a real bill, the oblique stripes located on the side are felt with the fingertips, but not on a fake.

Holographic strip

The strip consists of 4 parts.

When you change the angle of illumination, you can see the following:

  • in the upper part - the face value;
  • in the second from the top - either a portrait of the heroine of Greek mythology - Europe, or the denomination of the bill;
  • in the next one - either stained-glass windows from the main image, or the denomination, or the € sign;
  • in the last part - the symbol €.

At the same time, in the first and fourth sections, the elements are supplemented with microtexts, and in the second and third - with demetallized inscriptions “20 euros”.

Holographic symbols on the banknote.

SPARK® element

SPARK are color-shifting inks. In the original banknotes, the denomination changes color. When the banknote is tilted, the bright stripe in the middle moves up or down. The color of the number changes from green to dark blue.

Read also: 50 dollar bill how to spot a fake

SPARK element
The color of the number changes when tilted.


On the banknotes of the first series, on the left, on a wide white field, there is a watermark, which is a fragment of the main design. It will become visible if you look at the bill against the light.

On banknotes of the second series, regardless of the denomination, the watermark is located in the same place, but it is a portrait of the heroine of Greek mythology - Europe. Her face is depicted against the background of a stained-glass window that duplicates the main drawing. In addition to the pictures, the watermarks on both series contain the denomination of the banknote.

The portrait of Europe is visible when viewing the banknote in the light.

Read also: what does a banknote of 200 rubles look like

"Portrait Window"

Another feature of the €20 note is the “portrait window”. If you look at the banknote against the light, then the second from the top element of the holographic tape, located on the right side of the banknote, becomes transparent. An image of the heroine of the myths of Europe appears in the window.

Moreover, the figure should be visible from both sides. When you change the angle of inclination, rainbow lines frame the window on the front side, and repeating multi-colored numbers 20 are visible on the back.

portrait window
Portrait window depicting the character Europa.

Security thread

This is a strip with demetallized € and 20 signs. When viewed through the light, the line looks like a solid dark thread with light symbols.

A thread
Security tape and thread on a 20 euro banknote.


The microtest can be seen on inscriptions, figures and architectural ensembles. In the lines they write the denomination, the word "euro" in Latin and Cyrillic.

Microtext on the original banknote.

Authentication Methods

In addition to a detailed analysis of all elements of a banknote, there are other ways to check the euro for authenticity.

Reception "Touch, look, turn"

This technique is based on three steps. First you need to evaluate the bill tactilely. Feel the relief, the thickness of the paper, crunch it. Then examine the details, raise the banknote to the light, find the watermarks.

Next, you need to rotate the bill to change the angle of incidence of light. In this case, the colors of the denomination should change, demetallized protective elements should shimmer.

With UV light

Under ultraviolet radiation, chaotic strokes of blue, red and yellow can be seen all over the surface of the banknote. In this case, the paper itself does not glow. On the obverse, all elements of yellow color appear.

On the reverse under ultraviolet light, a quarter circle turns yellow, which under daylight looks blue. In addition, you can see the serial number (it turns orange) and a red stripe in the middle.

Under UV
Banknote under ultraviolet radiation.

under infrared light

Under infrared radiation, some objects and inscriptions become invisible. For example, on the obverse, the right section of the main image remains, while the left section disappears. The denomination and holographic strip are also visible under IR rays. The serial number, denomination and portrait of Europe remain on the reverse side.

Using a calculator

Another way to authenticate is with a calculator. Each banknote has a special code consisting of 11 numbers and a letter. For example: X32793052412. The letter indicates belonging to one of the European countries (see table).

Letter Number in alphabetical order State Check number
D 4 Estonia 4
E 5 Slovakia 3
F 6 Malta 2
G 7 Cyprus 1
H 8 Slovenia 9
J 10 Great Britain 7
K 11 Sweden 6
L 12 Finland 5
M 13 Portugal 4
N 14 Austria 3
P 16 Netherlands 1
R 18 Luxembourg 8
S 19 Italy 7
T 20 Ireland 6
U 21 France 5
V 22 Spain 4
W 23 Denmark 3
X 24 Germany 2
Y 25 Greece 1
Z 26 Belgium 9

In the example, the nationality of the banknote is Germany. The code of the letter is 24. All the digits of the code should be gradually added to this number, i.e.:


You need to add the numbers until you get a single-digit number, i.e.:


If the bill is original, then you get 8. Moreover, this rule works with all genuine euro currency.

The second way is to add only the numbers from the code, i.e.:

3+2+7+9+3+0+5+2+4+1+2=38, then 3+8=11, then 1+1=2.

The control number for Germany is 2. This means that the bill is real.

Andrey Kozhevnikov

Blog author. 7 years of experience as a Merchandiser. Specialist in the definition of quality products. Distinguished more than 5,000 fake goods. My motto: there is no limit to perfection!

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Add a comment

  1. london2013

    Really interesting information. It is very useful to be able to distinguish a fake in our time.

  2. Anatoly

    I want to go to Germany, I needed Euros, so I decided to play it safe and go read how to distinguish a fake in the article, this is all described in detail, thanks, now I can easily exchange without fear that they will slip a fake.

  3. Vitaly

    Now there are a lot of accomplices who make the largest number of fakes in euros. Therefore, you need to carefully misinterpret when you have that currency or another when someone gives it to you. Thanks for the interesting information.

  4. Sasha

    Of course, such a bill can be easily counterfeited, but is there much point in doing it. I think not, since most counterfeit banknotes that are more expensive than 20 euros. I think that the most popular among scammers is 100 euros and 50 euros.

  5. Anna Ogneva

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