Markets and Trade, Money

Misreading Fifty-Peso Bills

Some social media posts have been misreporting worn $50 peso banknotes as fakes

50 Peso Notes

A short while ago, a frenzy of social media posts circulated proclaiming that $50 peso bills which had their ink worn away were fake, and these posts further declared that bills could be tested for authenticity by scratching them with a coin.

Some traders, especially small independent shops and market stalls, have since become wary of worn $50 peso bills and may refuse to accept them from you in some instances.

The $20 and $50-peso Mexican bills have been printed on polymer—a hard-wearing plastic—for many years now, which has enabled these lower-denomination notes to circulate for much longer. A consequence of their durability is that in some instances, the ink can wear away, especially along the edges and the folds, while the bill itself remains perfectly intact.  This has caused some traders to question their authenticity.  After the social media hype, some traders stopped accepting the $50-peso bill altogether for a short time.

The event caused the Bank of Mexico to issue an extraordinary statement, asserting that scratching the bill to test whether the ink would scrape away is no means of verifying the note’s authenticity, and referred people to a short video it published which explains the key security features on the bill, and how to check the note for veracity.

The latest series of Mexican banknotes have advanced technology embedded into their design, making them difficult to counterfeit; however, prolonged circulation of the polymer notes can cause the ink to wear or rub-off, but this by itself does not indicate a fake. Two key security features to look for on the $50 peso note are the dual-color butterfly on the front-left side and the number “50” embossed into the lower transparent window on the right. This Bank of Mexico video illustrates all its principal security features.

In the event that a trader refuses a worn $50 peso note from you, it’s probably as well to offer an alternative bill instead of arguing the point: small traders especially don’t want the hassle of dealing with notes others may refuse from them, even if they are genuine.

Our related article explains how to spot a counterfeit currency in Mexico, and if you do find yourself with a possible fake, this other article explains what to you can do if you may have a counterfeit Mexican banknote.

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