Iraqi banknotes have been replaced by the Central Government of Iraq with new ones containing additional security features to make the currency more difficult to counterfeit, it announced last week.
The bank has reprinted small denomination paper banknotes (250, 500 and 1,000 Iraqi dinars) as well as larger denominations (5,000, 10,000, and 25,000 dinars), the bank’s treasury director Ihsan Shamran al-Yasseri told.
He also said, “The new currency, of which the small value ones have been offered for circulation, is not much different in form from the notes currently being used by the public,” adding that, “But these are infused with safer and more effective technical specifications containing security symbols and many technical characteristics that will give the notes longer life and make it difficult or almost impossible to counterfeit.”
Additional security features include a guarantee thread — a one-millimeter-long colored ribbon for the small category notes, and four millimeters for the greater value ones — in addition to visible colored strands, and others which can only be seen by scanners, he said.
He also said that new currency also uses SPARK, an optical security feature recognized worldwide. These added features will help protect Iraqi currency against forgery attempts, al-Yasseri said.
He also said, “The counterfeiting that has taken place of some of the high value notes in circulation was very primitive and easily-discovered, without the need to subject the money to scanning devices.”
The new banknotes are embossed with raised dots to enable blind and vision-impaired persons to use them, he said, and are covered by a protective film to prevent deterioration resulting from their constant circulation.
“Worldwide, the assumed life of paper money is three to five years,” he said. “The Iraqi notes in use now go back 10 years, and many of the banknotes, especially the small value ones, have become old and worn.”
The overall value of the paper notes to be reprinted comes to about five trillion Iraqi dinars ($4.3 billion), al-Yasseri said, and these will be gradually entered into circulation to replace the current notes.
He noted that offering new notes would not cancel out the paper notes that are getting used right now. The new ones will be circulated alongside the old ones. Reprinting Iraqi currency several years after its introduction is a “necessary requirement”, said economist Bassem Jameel Antoine.
He mentioned, “Many of the present currency notes have become overused and it was necessary to renew them with the addition of features that would make the notes more able to effectively resist the constant circulation as well as attempts at forgery.”
Numerous modern security features and technologies have been used to safeguard world currencies against counterfeiting and tampering, Antoine said. The public must be made aware of the features and specifications of the new banknotes in order to understand the importance of reprinting them and to encourage their circulation, he said.
The renewal of the banknotes is a good step towards achieving currency reform, said MP Ibrahim al-Rikaby, who serves on the Iraqi parliament’s economic committee. He said, “We support the replacement of old notes with new ones which have high print quality and features to protect the money against forgery or tampering.”
This step “will give the Iraqi dinar considerable strength against the other world currencies, as well as make it easy to carry and circulate in banking transactions, selling and buying operations, and currency exchange”, he said.