Financial Update (Third Quarter 2007)

$5 Bill Receives New Look, Security Features

photo of new $5 designOn Sept. 20, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) unveiled a redesigned $5 bill that includes new colors and a number of other anticounterfeiting features. The $5 bill will begin circulating in early 2008.

Bill's new look boosts its security
The most noticeable difference in the new bill is the addition of light purple in the center of the bill, which blends into gray near the edges. It also has two watermarks, both composed of the number 5. Small yellow "05"s are printed to the left of Abraham Lincoln's portrait on the front of the bill and to the right of the Lincoln Memorial vignette on the back.

Also visible—but less so—is the security thread embedded in the bill, which is expected to go into circulation early next year. The thread runs vertically and to the right of President Lincoln's portrait. The letters "USA" followed by the number "5" alternate in a pattern visible along the thread from both sides of the bill. The thread glows blue when exposed to ultraviolet light. The bill also features microprinting with the words "FIVE DOLLARS," "E PLURIBUS UNUM," "USA," and "USA FIVE."

Press release
Features of the new $5 bill
Timeline of current and previous currency redesigns

President Lincoln's portrait has also received some attention in the redesign. The oval borders around his portrait have been removed, and the portrait itself has been moved higher on the bill.

Unveiling intended to educate businesses, consumers
The BEP's unveiling of the new $5 bill was the first such event done digitally, featuring streaming video, podcasts, and interactive images of the bill. "From Bangkok to Boston, we want those who rely on our paper money around the globe—whether they are central banks, businesses, or consumers—to have the information they need to verify the money they receive is genuine and to ensure a smooth introduction of new designs into commerce," said Rose Pianalto, assistant to the Federal Reserve Board of Governors.

Counterfeiting of U.S. currency has been kept at low levels through a combination of improvements in security features, aggressive law enforcement and education to inform the public about how to check their paper money. Next in line for a redesign are Benjamin Franklin and the $100 bill. The government has no plans to redesign the $1 and $2 bills.

September 25, 2007