Polymer substrate. Australian banknotes are printed on polymer (a type of plastic) and have a distinctive feel. A genuine banknote should return back to shape after it is scrunched up.
Top-to-bottom window. There are multiple security features in the clear top-to-bottom window. The window should be an integral part of the banknote and not an addition.
3D Federation Star. Tilt the banknote to see a three-dimensional Federation Star with a colourful border. The image will appear raised or recessed.
Flying Eastern Spinebill. Tilt the banknote to see the Eastern Spinebill move its wings and change colour.
Colourful Eastern Spinebill. Tilt the banknote to see colours change within the Eastern Spinebill.
Reversing 5. Tilt the banknote to see the number ‘5’ change direction within the Federation Pavilion. The number alternately appears forwards, disappears, then appears backwards.
Rolling colour effect. Tilt the banknote to see a rolling colour effect. On one side of the banknote it is a prominent patch near the top corner; on the other it is in a bird shape.
Federation Star. Look for a Federation Star in a small clear window. The Federation Star is embossed and has a light and dark effect. The window should be an integral part of the banknote and not an addition.
Microprint Look for tiny, clearly defined text in multiple locations on the banknote. This includes selected lines from the Australian Constitution in the branch in the top-to-bottom window, and in front of and in the wall of Parliament House. ‘FIVE DOLLARS’ is also microprinted in the coloured background.
Intaglio print. Feel the distinctive texture of the dark printing. The slightly raised print can be felt by running a finger across the portrait and numerals.
Background print. Multi-coloured and multi-directional fine-line patterns appear on each side of the banknote. This background printing should be very sharp. Check for irregularities such as less clearly defined patterns, thicker or thinner lines, or colour differences.
Fluorescent ink. Look for an Eastern Spinebill, serial number and year of print that fluoresce under UV light.
NEW BANKNOTES: FROM CONCEPT TO CIRCULATION by the RBA