The new Winston Churchill £5 notes are now widely in circulation, which means counterfeiters will be trying to produce their own fake versions.

Here are 11 easy ways to take a fake fiver from the real thing.

Check the portraits

The new polymer £5 note should have the portrait of the Queen on the front.


And Sir Winston Churchill on the back.

Images: Bank of England Flickr

Check the size

The polymer fiver is slightly smaller than the old paper £5 note. It measures 125mm x 65mm compared to 135mm x 70mm.

Check the material

The new £5 note is printed on a special thin polymer, which is a light flexible plastic.

Check the see-through window

A genuine polymer £5 note should have a large see-through window with a clear portrait of the Queen printed on it and the words ‘£5 Bank of England’ printed twice around the edge.

[Related story: Winston Churchill £5 note: everything you need to know]

Look for Big Ben

There should also be a metallic image of the Elizabeth Tower (aka Big Ben) on the see-through window.

The foil should be gold on the front and silver on the back of the note. When the note is tilted a multi-coloured rainbow should be visible.

Check the border and £ symbol

The edge of the see-through window should feature a border which changes from purple to green when the note is tilted at an angle.

The £ symbol in the window also changes colour from purple to green and the effects can be seen from both the front and back of the note.

[Related story: Jane Austen £10 notes: everything you need to know]

Look for the three foil patches

There should be three foil patches on a genuine polymer fiver.

On the front of the note below the see-through window there should be a silver foil patch with the word ‘Five’. When tilted the patch should change to read ‘Pounds’.

There’s another silver foil patch above the see-through window containing the image of the coronation crown which appears in 3D. When titled the image produces a multi-coloured rainbow effect.

A real £5 note should also have a circular green foil patch on the back which contains the words ‘BLENHEIM’. This should be located directly behind the crown on the front.

Feel for raised print

You should be able to feel raised print on a genuine polymer fiver.

These are located on words like ‘Bank of England’ and on the number ‘5’ in the bottom right hand corner.

Check the print quality

The Bank of England says the printed lines and colours on a genuine fiver should be sharp, clear and free of smudges and blurred edges.

Check for microlettering

Beneath the Queen’s portrait there should a cluster of microlettering stating the value of the note in small letters and numbers. You might need a magnifying glass to get a proper look.

Check for the ultra-violet five

A real polymer £5 will also have a number ‘5’ that you can only see under ultra-violet light.

The number should appear in bright red and green, while the background should remain dull in contrast.

What to do if you find a fake fiver

If you’re still unsure about whether a note is fake the Bank of England has a free app you can use on Android and iOS devices.

If you spot a fake £5 note don’t accept it.

Should you discover you have a fake bank note you should take it to the police. They will send the note to the Bank of England to be checked. If it is found to be counterfeit, you won’t be reimbursed but if it is genuine you will receive the money back.

Images taken from Bank of England The New Fiver  Key Security Features video and booklet Take a Closer Look.

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