According to the United States Department of Treasury, an estimated $70 million in counterfeit bills are in circulation in the United States. Thanks to advanced digital printing technology and a low barrier of access to sophisticated editing software, it is becoming easier for the average criminal to produce counterfeit bills convincing enough to fool a typical cashier or business owner. Per ABC News, the Secret Service reported that, in 2013, American law enforcement made more than 3,500 arrests of people attempting to develop counterfeit U.S. currency. The $20 bill was the most common of the fake notes.1

Unfortunately, the government cannot compensate businesses that are duped into accepting fake currency, placing these businesses at a huge risk for monetary loss. Therefore, it is up to small business owners and retailers alike to do everything they can to prevent counterfeit currency from entering their place of business.

According to Marc Weber Tobias, a security specialist and contributor to Forbes, “Modern criminals are using the latest technology to defraud businesses and consumers throughout the world.” However, Tobias believes businesses can remain a step ahead by using “highly effective security countermeasures” which have been developed to protect from counterfeit fraud. Cash Management systems from Tidel are one example of such countermeasures.

Note Validators Take Prominent Role in Halting Counterfeit Currency

Tidel is a world-leading provider of cash management solutions that empower organizations to streamline, automate, and secure their cash environments.

Tidel smart safes, such as the Series 3, Series 4, and Series 4e, are equipped with note validators manufactured by Crane Payment Innovations ( Working closely with Crane, Tidel software interacts with the Crane validator firmware to ensure that notes accepted into the safe adhere to a specific database that contains the characteristics of what can be considered an “approved” note. While not ‘detecting’ a counterfeit note per se, a Tidel system outfitted with a Crane Payment Innovation note validator can ensure that a deposited note is in compliance with the latest database of acceptable note characteristics. If a note is rejected multiple times, this gives the store employee an opportunity to ask the customer for an alternate note. This plays a particularly important role when high value notes are provided as a form of payment. As an extra measure of security, many stores require high dollar notes to be deposited directly into the safe when received, instead of being placed into the till to be deposited later. Following this practice, a business owner will always want to ensure a note is valid for acceptance. A Tidel smart safe serves as an effective check point in this process.

Characteristics of what is considered an “approved” note do change periodically. This is to ensure that the U.S. government stays ahead of the latest in counterfeit schemes. Crane Payment Innovations works closely with the U.S. Department of Treasury to ensure that its validator firmware is always up-to-date with the latest information. Tidel works closely with Crane to integrate updated firmware into its safe software. Once that integration is complete, Tidel then makes the updated software available to its channel partners, who can then ‘push’ such updates out to their installed base of smart safes. This ensures any new security features added to Crane’s firmware are reflected in the latest software version.

Education is a great defense against counterfeit notes, and teaching those who handle notes how to recognize fabricated currency can help prevent fake notes from reentering circulation. However, human intervention can only go so far. There are a variety of technical solutions available to help a store reduce its exposure to counterfeit currency. Tidel smart safes equipped with note validators from Crane Payment Innovations can greatly extend a store’s efforts to minimize the risk of accepting a counterfeit note. By minimizing this risk, a store can enjoy greater peace of mind when conducting transactions in cash, particularly with higher denomination notes. This further enhances a culture of loss prevention – which positively impacts store owners, managers, employees, and customers.

Tidel is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of cash management systems and robbery deterrent products for the retail segment. By leveraging industry-leading technologies such as note validators from Crane Payment Innovations, Tidel remains at the forefront in bringing the latest in cash management solutions to the markets we serve. To learn more about our renowned cash management robbery deterrent systems, company mission, and values, please visit