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Press Release

A New $5 Bill Enters Circulation - Enhanced Security Features Are Easy to Check

PR0813E | Date: 2008-03-14

The first new $5 bill was issued by the Federal Reserve March 13, 2008 during a commemorative transaction at President Lincoln's Cottage at the Soldiers Home in Washington, D.C., a historic site used by the former president as a White House summer retreat. Officials from the Federal Reserve Board, U.S. Treasury, Bureau of Engraving and Printing and U.S. Secret Service ushered the new $5 bill into circulation at the Lincoln Cottage gift shop.

Michael Lambert, Assistant Director, Division of Reserve Bank Operations and Payment Systems at the Federal Reserve Board, spent the first new $5 bill on a book of President Lincoln's speeches. President Lincoln's portrait continues to be featured on this redesign of the $5 bill.

"The redesigned $5 bill's enhanced security features help ensure we stay ahead of counterfeiters and protect your hard-earned money," Lambert said. "It only takes a few seconds to check the new $5 bill to make sure it's genuine. If you know how to check its security features, you can easily be confident it's real. "

Federal Reserve banks began distributing the redesigned $5 bills to customer banks, which will then distribute them to businesses and consumers. The new $5 bill designs will circulate first in the U.S. and gradually spread to other countries as international banks place orders for them from the Federal Reserve. You don't have to trade in your old bills for new ones. Both the new $5 bills and the older-design $5 bills will continue to maintain their full face value.

The new $5 bill incorporates state-of-the-art security features that are easy to use by cash handlers and consumers alike. Hold the bill to the light to check for these features:

  • Watermarks: There are now two watermarks on the redesigned $5 bill. A large number "5" watermark is located in a blank space to the right of the portrait replacing the previous watermark portrait of President Lincoln found on the older-design $5 bills. A second watermark column of three smaller 5 has been added to the new $5 bill design and is positioned to the left of the portrait.
  • Security Thread: The embedded security thread runs vertically and is now located to the right of the portrait on the redesigned $5 bill. The letters "USA" followed by the number "5" in an alternating pattern are visible along the thread from both sides of the bill. The thread glows blue when held under ultraviolet light.

Every person or business that gets a counterfeit bill experiences a real economic loss, and in 2007, $61.4 million in counterfeit money was passed in the United States. Free educational materials are available to businesses, financial institutions, trade and professional associations, citizen groups and individuals to prepare cash handlers and consumers to recognize the new design and protect themselves against counterfeits. Since 2003, the U.S. government has distributed about 80 million pieces of public education and training materials about the new $5, $10, $20 and $50 bill redesigns. Materials are available to order or download in multiple languages at

As with the redesigned $10, $20 and $50 bills that preceded it, the new $5 bill features an American symbol of freedom printed in the background. The Great Seal of the United States, featuring an eagle and shield, is printed in purple on the front of the bill. Additional design elements include:

  • The large, easy-to-read number "5" in the lower right corner on the back of the bill, which helps those with visual impairments distinguish the denomination, has been enlarged in the new $5 bill design and is printed in high-contrast purple ink.
  • The oval borders around President Lincoln's portrait on the front and the Lincoln Memorial vignette on the back have been removed. Both engravings have been enhanced.
  • Small yellow "05"s are printed to the left of the portrait on the front of the bill and to the right of the Lincoln Memorial vignette on the back.

The new $5 bill's most noticeable design difference is the addition of light purple in the center of the bill, which blends into gray near the edges. Because color can be duplicated, consumers and cash-handlers should use the key security feature-on the new $5 bill, the watermarks and security thread-not color, to check the authenticity of paper money.

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