How to distinguish euro banknotes if you have vision problems

The European Union of the Blind (UEC @euroblind) collaborated with the European Central Bank (ECB @ecb), during the design phase of euro coins and banknotes in the 1990s, to respond to the needs of the blind or people with vision problems.

From the outset, banknote reproduction rules contribute to the integrity of euro banknotes and ensure that the general public can distinguish authentic banknotes from reproductions, including those with impaired vision. Thus, for example, in their design they used intense and highly contrasted colors: The € 5 note is gray and the € 10 note is red. The € 20 is blue, followed by the € 50, orange, and the € 100, green. The € 200 note is yellow and the € 500 note is purple. In addition, the value of the banknotes is printed in large figures.

Some of the characteristics of the banknotes would also allow us to distinguish them in the dark:

  • Different sizes: the higher the value of the banknote, the larger its size.
  • Embossed ink, easily noticeable to the touch.
  • Tactile markings along the edge of the € 200 and € 500 banknotes. These marks do not exist on the € 100 banknote, whose width coincides with that of the highest denomination banknotes.

With regard to euro coins, metallic objects bearing the words ‘euro’ or ‘euro cent’ or having a similar design to euro coins could be mistaken for legal tender by the public. However, authentic coins also have some characteristics that allow us to distinguish between them beyond their physical appearance:

  • Different size, shape, color and edge.
  • Different weight: the higher its value, the greater the weight, except in the case of the € 1 coin.
  • Different thickness: the higher its value, the greater the thickness, except in the case of the € 2 and € 1 coins.
  • The face value is prominently displayed on the common side of the coins.

As for the touch, the different edges that each coin has also help not to confuse them:

–The € 2 coins have characters engraved on the fine lines of the edge (ferrule).

Screenshot 2020 10 02 at 9.38.27

–In the edge of the € 1 coins, three sections of very fine lines are interspersed with three smooth sections.

Screenshot 2020 10 02 at 9.38.46

–The 50 and 10 cent coins have a thin festooned edge

Screenshot 2020 10 02 at 9.39.18

–The edge of the 20 cent coins is smooth and with seven grooves («Spanish flower»).

Screenshot 2020 10 02 at 9.39.29

–The 5 and 1 cent coins have a smooth edge

Screenshot 2020 10 02 at 9.39.35

–The 2 cent coins have a groove that runs along the entire edge.

Screenshot 2020 10 02 at 9.39.40

Source: European Central Bank