The US Federal Reserve will begin circulating a new US$100 note today with some modern and colourful anti-counterfeiting features, after overcoming problems that postponed its debut for more than 2½ years.
In addition to traditional safeguards like a paper blend that is difficult to duplicate, the note will have two new features: a three-dimensional blue strip with images that appear to move when the note is tilted, and an image of a copper inkwell containing a holographic bell whose colour changes when tilted.
The note is the final US currency denomination to undergo the "New Colour of Money" facelift that started with the US$20 note in 2003, introducing subtle hues and other security features to paper currency as part of efforts to stay ahead of counterfeiters.
"It only takes a few seconds for people - if they know what they're looking for - to know what they're looking at is genuine," said Michael Lambert, associate director of the Federal Reserve.
The US$100 note is an especially hot item on the global stage. The Federal Reserve estimates that one-half to two-thirds of US$100 notes in circulation are abroad at any given time, making them one of the nation's largest exports. As a result, it is the most commonly counterfeited note outside the US.
The note took more than a decade to develop. It had been scheduled for release in February 2011, but delays were caused by a series of printing problems.