How To Tell Genuine Jamaican Notes from Counterfeit

In September 2010, the police intercepted a motor vehicle in St James carrying a total of US$1,900 in US $100 notes; US$400 in US $50 notes, and US$40 in US $20 notes – all counterfeit. They also found J$13,000 in counterfeit $1000 bills.

Not many Jamaicans realise that the possibility of them having handled at least one counterfeit note in their lifetime is very real. Especially with the increase in reports about scamming and fraud in the country, have you ever stopped to wonder if all the notes you are using on a daily basis are real? How would you know if they were fake?

The Bank Of Jamaica (BOJ) is the only legal entity allowed to issue notes and currency to the Jamaican public. As stipulated in the Bank of Jamaica Act 1960, the Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) is responsible for:

  • “formulating and implementing monetary policy to maintain price stability;
  • ensuring the maintenance of a sound and efficient financial system; and
  • meeting the currency needs of the public.”

That last point – “meeting the currency needs” of the Jamaican public – simply means they ensure that the public has the money it needs to carry out daily transactions and keep the local economy going. This, their website says, “facilitates the management of the country’s financial system”.

Below are lists of  key security features for the Jamaican $500, $1000 and $5000 notes. If you have a note that you believe is counterfeit, you should take it to the police at once. It is a criminal offence to hold on to or pass on a note that you know is counterfeit.

[cont’d next page – $500, $1000, $5000]