Ways to recognize a fake 500 euro banknote

500 euro fake Money

During 2020, more than 460 thousand counterfeit euro banknotes were withdrawn from circulation. About 1.2% of the total is accounted for by 500 euro tickets, the counterfeiting of which is declining every year due to being withdrawn from circulation. However, the risk of detecting invalid banknotes is still high. Knowing the degrees of protection of bank notes will allow you to identify counterfeit in a timely manner.

Euro banknotes
500 euros is a large banknote of European countries, which is often counterfeited.

General view and characteristics of the 500 euro banknote

Sketches of the first euro banknotes were developed in 1996 by the Austrian graphic artist Robert Kalina. The common theme of their design was the eras and styles of Europe. The 500 euro banknote is dedicated to architectural modernism, which became widespread at the end of the 19th century. Buildings made in this style meet the needs of an industrial society. The glazed-concrete structure on the obverse emphasizes the rationalism and practicality of a bygone era. The reverse depicts the Normandy Bridge, opened in 1995.

Like other banknotes, the 500 euro banknote contains:

  • currency name;
  • denomination;
  • year of issue;
  • common flag of the European Union;
  • image of 12 stars;
  • signature of the President of the European Central Bank;
  • special protective elements.

The bank note has the shape of a rectangle with sides of 160 and 82 mm and is considered the largest among other samples of the series. Its design is made in purple and lilac tones.

banknote design
500 euro banknote design.

Banknote protection methods

All euro banknotes are distinguished by a high degree of protection against counterfeiting and are imitated much less often than other national currencies. The security features differ depending on the denomination: the €500 ticket has a hologram on the front and a color-changing number on the back.

Read also: fake coins

Public elements

There is a large set of security features by which the average person is able to distinguish a fake from a valid bank note.

Public security elements include:

  • embossed line with the abbreviation ECB (European Central Bank) in 5 languages;
  • watermark on a white field;
  • transparent number: marks printed from different sides form a solid image when examining a banknote through the light;
  • security thread running through the center of the ticket;
  • holographic image;
  • number that changes color;
  • serial number consisting of 11 alphanumeric values.
Signs of authenticity
The main methods for determining the authenticity of a banknote.

Let's look at some of the elements in more detail.

Special paper. Such banknotes are printed on special paper consisting of linen and cotton.

To the touch, it is much thinner than ordinary paper (a person does not meet in everyday life with paper made from such a material).

On the front side of the banknote, some elements are made bulk printing. You can feel it by running your finger over the banknote. If we look at these elements of the banknote in the light, they are combined into a number indicating the value of our banknote.

Elements of printing on the white field of the banknote. If we look at these elements of the banknote in the light, they are combined into a number indicating the value of our banknote.

Read also: banknote 100 euro how to spot a fake

Printing elements on the white field of the 500 euro banknote

Hologram. On the banknote, the hologram replaces the silver stripe. This hologram at a different angle, in addition to the monetary value, will display a fragment of this Eurobank.

Hologram on the 500 euro banknote

The numbers 500, depicted on the banknote, will be of different colors from different angles (either purple, or light yellow, or brown).

Serial number. The serial number of the banknote consists of 11 letters and numbers. Replace the letter at the beginning of the number with the corresponding number in the English alphabet (A -1, B -2, C -3, etc.). Then add all the numbers of the serial number until you get a single digit. Genuine banknotes must have the number 8.

For example: your banknote number is x04017624905. X is the 24th in the English alphabet. We get: 2+4+0+4+0+1+7+6+2+4+9+0+5=44= 4+4= 8. Therefore, our banknote is real.

Read also: $50 how to spot a fake

Determination of the authenticity of the euro by serial number and checksum

You can determine for which country a banknote was printed by the first letter in its number:

The code                     

The country Check Digit
D Estonia 4
E Slovakia 3
F Malta 2
G Cyprus 1
H Slovenia 9
I not used
J Great Britain 7
K Sweden 6
L Finland 5
M Portugal 4
N Austria 3
O not used
P Netherlands 1
Q not used
R Luxembourg 8
S Italy 7
T Ireland 6
U France 5
V Spain 4
W Denmark 3
X Germany 2
Y Greece 1
Z Belgium 9

Interestingly, when adding all the digits of the number, a two-digit number is obtained. If you repeat the operation until you get a single digit from 1 to 9, then it will indicate the country for which the bill was printed.

For example. You have a 100 euro banknote with the number X10078057694. Add up all the numbers: 1 + 0 + 0 + 7 + 8 + 0 + 5 + 7 + 6 + 9 + 4 = 47; 4+7=11; 1+1=2. Both the letter X and 2 refer to Germany.

Read also: 500 rubles

Checksum "8"

If the letter of the serial number is replaced by a number corresponding to its serial number in the English alphabet, then the sum of this number and all digits of the serial number, as a result of calculations similar to the previous example, will give 8.

For a genuine banknote, the final amount is always 8.

Letters of the English alphabet in order: A - 1, B - 2, C - 3, D - 4, E - 5, F - 6, G - 7, H - 8, I - 9, J - 10, K - 11, L - 12, M - 13, N - 14, O - 15, P - 16, Q - 17, R - 18, S - 19, T - 20, U - 21, V - 22, W - 23, X - 24, Y - 25, Z - 26.

Light check

When examining a ticket through the light, several security features can be found: a watermark, a transparent number, and a hidden thread.

Checking for light:

  • Watermark on a light field – a multi-tone image of a fragment of a building on the front side of the banknote and a light number “500”. A watermark appears on the white field, which is created by changing the thickness of the paper. It includes an image of a fragment of a building on the obverse and the number 500. The transitions between the light and dark parts of the filigree should be smooth. If you place the ticket on a black background, the watermark will darken.

Watermark on the light field of the 500 euro banknote


  • code watermark - in the form of four vertical stripes (left of center)

Code dropsy mark on the 500 euro banknote

  • security thread hidden in paper – a dark stripe with the text “500 EURO” (in straight and inverted versions) and the denomination “500” in a reduced version. It is recommended to check the text with a magnification of at least 10 times.

Security thread on the 500 euro banknote

The marks printed in the upper left corner of the front side and in the upper right corner of the reverse, when viewed through the light, form a solid image of the denomination.

Also on the bill you can see a transverse dark stripe, on which there is a repeating white inscription "500 EURO". At 10x magnification, text retains uniform coloration and smooth outlines.

hidden thread


Tickets have many hidden features that are read by counting machines, ATMs and other devices.

These non-public elements include:

  • microprint on some details of the main image, not visible to the naked eye;
  • images applied with fluorescent paints, visible only under UV light;
  • marking with invisible infrared ink.

Some features are kept secret and allow the central banks of the Eurozone countries to detect counterfeits using specialized equipment for processing banknotes.

The main signs of a fake

Each type of euro banknote has a unique design and security features, the changed appearance or the absence of which indicates falsification. In most cases, counterfeit 500 euro banknotes are identified by 4 signs: poor paper quality, embossed print, watermark and holographic image.

Characteristic Sign of a fake
Paper quality Excessive softness of the material and the absence of a characteristic crunch when crushed
Filigree creation method A printed watermark that becomes darker than the surrounding light space
Hologram Properties Static image when banknote is tilted
Embossment of the line with the abbreviation ECB No bulges where ink is applied

Ways to check for authenticity

To verify the authenticity of a banknote, it is customary to use a simple “feel-look-tilt” method, which literally translates as “feel-look-tilt”. However, in addition to the standard components, there are high-tech elements that can only be detected using special equipment.

According to outward appearances

First of all, it is necessary to pay attention to the external characteristics of the banknote, which must correspond to the basic description of the European Central Bank.

If in doubt, it is recommended to compare the banknote with another ticket of the same denomination.

One of the main security elements is a hologram. By tilting the banknote, on the front side you can see a shifting image, on which, depending on the position, the denomination or a fragment of an architectural structure appears. In the background, concentric circles are formed of miniature letters moving outwards. The number in the lower right corner of the reverse side changes shades from purple to olive green or brown.

The presence of holographic protection is an important sign of the authenticity of the banknote.

To the touch

The bill is made of cotton material, so it should feel dense and crispy to the touch. In the upper part of the front side there are several letters, the bulge of which is clearly felt when touched by the fingers of the hand.

Did you hold a 500 euro banknote in your hands?

Testing on special equipment

Some protective functions can only be tested using special equipment. For example, magnifiers allow you to see microscopic letters on the elements of the image.

When illuminated with an ultraviolet lamp, randomly arranged fibrous blotches of red, blue and green appear on the ticket.

The signature of the head of the Central Bank and the flag of the European Union turn green, while large stars and small circles turn orange. On the reverse side, the map, the images of the bridge and the denomination become yellow.

Ultraviolet radiation
To check the banknote for authenticity, you should enlighten it with ultraviolet rays.

Using sources of infrared radiation, you can see how almost all graphic elements disappear. Only the right side of the main image, a fragment of the number and the hologram remain visible.

Infra-red bills
When examining a banknote in infrared radiation, only a part of the image is revealed.

Reasons why 500 euros are being withdrawn from circulation

The decision of the European Central Bank to ban the issuance of €500 banknotes came into force on January 27, 2019. Tickets that are in circulation still retain their value and are legal tender.

The rejection of 500-euro bills is due to their widespread use for money laundering purposes.

Ordinary citizens prefer to pay large amounts through electronic transactions, and physical banknotes are actively circulating in criminal circles.

Where do you keep your savings?
In rubles in a bank
In rubles at home, in a secret place
In dollars at the bank
In dollars at home, in a secret place
In euros at the bank
In Euro at home, in a secret place
In another currency
I don't have savings
Voted: 12
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!

Rate author
OriginalPoddelka - how to distinguish a fake from the original
Add a comment

  1. Nicholas

    The information is certainly useful. I remember the boom to replace 500 euro bills. There was just some hysteria. But, in my opinion, it is better to read such an article and use the information received to determine the fake. Or try to have small bills ...

  2. Alina.

    How difficult it is to distinguish fake bills from real ones. It seems to me that you will still doubt it, so it is better to check with the bank.

  3. Andrey

    I'm going to Germany, I want to buy EURO, but I'm afraid that they will be deceived and handed a fake, so that this does not happen, I carefully read this article, thank you.

  4. Konstantin

    And what year banknotes are in circulation? And what is the latest release year? It is a pity that the video does not show banknotes in ultraviolet light. Although there are currently almost 100 % banks trusted and authenticated with banknote counting machines.

  5. Alexander

    It's good that there are similar articles, as they help people recognize crafts, and now many scammers make money on this, when people take money from earnings abroad and want to change money in their own country, many are deceived.

  6. Nikita

    I saved up a large amount and decided to buy Euros, but I'm afraid to be deceived and therefore I went to play it safe, it's good that there are articles where everything is told in detail how to distinguish original from genuine.