Why didn't the US put "windows" in their redesigned currency?

The window feature found in some currencies seems to me to be the best feature to thwart counterfeiters. All that other crap (redesigned headshots, background colors, etc.) can be easily duplicated using modern printers. The one thing a printer cannot duplicate is the window feature. Did the US really blow it on this one, or am I missing something?

Because nobody wants their money to crash all the time, and have to restart it all the time.

Window feature? Whazzat? Like a little window box with some petunias and chintz curtains around the portrait?

The redesigns are not done; supposedly this is a “living” process, so after all the bills have their first facelift, a new revision with better features is supposed to happen. If you dig around www.moneyfactory.gov I think they outline that this is an “ongoing” plan.

I’m not sure what you mean by a window, but they do a lot of testing for durability when redesigning the currency. One of the requirements is that the bill be able to be crumpled and uncrumpled without damage. If you’re suggesting a transparent plastic window, that may not be durable enough.

Does the OP mean something like Australian notes, which are printed on plastic, and have little transparent sections with designs on the two sides that have to match? That’s certainly something that’s hard to imitate on your average colour photocopier.

(In this picture , it’s the oblique oval shape below the large “20” on one side, and the plane of the other side.)

good one jjimm!

Uncle Beer, “windows” as in a small clear plastic see-through place on the bill.

Part of the reason is the gov’t beleive that keeping the design basically consistant will reinforce the consistantcy of the currency. The last thing the gov’t wants is people questioning the currency, they want people just by look and feel to know it’s solid currency the world over.

Radical changes can call this into question.

You’ll have a hard time duplicating the watermark with any modern printer.

When they redesigned the Canadian banknotes, I hoped we would get plastic banknotes with transparent window features, but it was not to be. We got hologram stripes, watermarks, security threads, and puzzle numbers instead.

There are lots of security features on and in a modern bill that cannot be readily (if at all) duplicated using printers. The watermark portrait, the security thread, the microprinting and the color-shifting ink are all extremely difficult for the average counterfeiter to reproduce undetectably.

In fact, here’s what the Bureau of Engraving and Printing said about the durability testing: “Durability was tested rigorously. Tests included crumpling, folding, laundering, soiling and soaking in a variety of solvents such as gasoline, acids and laundry products.” So the plastic window may not have passed the test. On the other hand, they added a watermark, which is an old technique, but hard to counterfeit.

Of course I’ve never actually seen anyone hold a $20 up to the air and look for the watermark. Or take a magnifying glass and look at the small little words written all over the place, or see if there’s a magnetic strip. So while there are dozens of security features, most people just don’t care that much. I guess it stinks to be the guy that turns the $20 into the bank and is out the cash when they tell you it’s fake.

**Bob55 ** indirectly stated what I did not make clear in my OP. The average person, when handed a bill, does not usually go through any counterfeit detecting process involving watermark verification, color analysis or the like. But the window would be quickly and easily detectable to even the most ignorant currency taker. I would think a lot of people are not aware of the watermark and things like that they could check for, but a window would be easy- if you can’t see through it, it is definitely fake.

When I worked register, the simplest and most discreet verification is the two-color holographic “20” in the bottom right corner, just a simple twist of the wrist.
To the OP: people already complain US paper money is beginning to look like Monopoly money. Apparently, these same people call their congressperson regularly.


I see cashiers do this all the time.

I think that’s because you look suspicious.

I love those little threads. I regularly rip them out of the bills with a toothpick. So far no one has refused a threadless bill. So much for security features.

I agree that a plastic window is far better than a watermark as a security feature. When was the last time you held a bill up to the light to check if it was legitimate? A plastic window, on the other hand, is immediately visible and so can be checked in a fraction of a second.

Wednesday. Whenever I get cash from the ATM, I always check the watermarks before walking away from the machine. Doesn’t everybody?

I didn’t know about the color-shifting 20, but on checking it just now, it looks pretty subtle… I think I’ll just stick with the watermarks.

I suspect you are in the minority. A tiny, tiny minority. In all my years of waiting in line at cashiers and bank machines, I have never seen anyone ahead of me scrutinize their change or withdrawal in this manner. The only time I have seen anyone view a watermark is to admire it on a foreign bank note or a new issue of domestic currency.