Financial Update (Fourth Quarter 2002)


Cover Story

New Atlanta Fed Chairman

Payment Study

High-Tech Stock Performance

Update Online

Board Appointees


Did You Know?

Data Bank

The Docket


New Currency Design Will Sport More Colors

The next generation of Federal Reserve notes will debut as early as fall 2003, according to an announcement from the U.S. Treasury’s Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) and the Federal Reserve Board. This new design, referred to as NexGen, will introduce subtle background colors. Although color itself is not a security feature, the use of color allows for other features to be added that can help deter counterfeiting.

The purpose of the redesign is to stay ahead of advanced computer technologies used in some types of counterfeiting. According to the U.S. Secret Service, $47.5 million in counterfeit money entered into circulation in 2001. Of this amount, 39 percent was computer generated, compared with only 0.5 percent in 1995.

NexGen notes will retain the security features introduced in the last currency redesign, in 1996. These features include a watermark, a security thread, microprinting and color-shifting ink. The new notes will remain the same size and use familiar portraits and historical images.

The redesign will affect $100, $50 and $20 notes, with the $20 note being introduced as early as fall 2003 and the $100 and $50 notes following in 12 to 18 months. The redesign of $10 and $5 notes is still under consideration, but no redesign of $2 and $1 notes is planned. Release of NexGen notes will have no effect on money already in circulation; the notes will circulate with older-series currency.

The BEP and the Fed are planning an extensive public education effort aimed at financial institutions, law enforcement, retail and vending industries and the general public to encourage familiarity with the redesigned currency.

To promote a smooth transition for vending machine owners, mass transit agencies and other businesses that rely on currency-accepting machines, the BEP is also working with machinery manufacturers to expedite the development of software and other devices that will accept the NexGen notes.