Application: Banknote papers are enhanced by the addition of security foil elements and printed effects.

Authentication: Authentication is the process of proving that a banknote or security document is genuine by checking the watermark or by feeling the intaglio embossing of a banknote.

Authentication feature: Security feature in or on banknotes or security documents that serve the purpose of determining authenticity.

Authenticity: The condition of a security element of a banknote or security document being genuine or of an ID document being unaltered.


Banknote paper: The banknote substrate is a special paper produced on a cylinder mould paper machine and usually made of 100% cotton.

Banknote substrate: Banknote substrate based on various materials such as cotton, polymer or a combination of the two (so-called hybrid substrates).

Bi-metallic foil stripe: A security foil element that can be distinguished by having two different metals (e.g. aluminum and gold) placed next to one another.

BN: Abbreviation of “banknote”


Circulation: Description of the lifecycle of banknotes starting with their issue and ending with their destruction.

Cleartext: Is a negative text in which the text elements become legible when looked through. The nontransparent part is normally generated by means of metallization. See also Demetallization.

Cleartext thread: Special moulding of a security thread in the banknote paper with negative text in which the text elements become legible in transmitted light.

Colorcast: Color alternates between two contrasting tones when the viewing angle is changed. Color-shifting printed effects can be generated using different technologies. Example: Denomination value on the back of the 50-euro banknote.

Colorcast effect: See Colorcast.

Colorcast thread: Is a security thread in the banknote paper with an optical surface featuring Colorcast.

Colorcast/ColourFix: Security element featuring an optical surface divided into two sections. The Colorcast section changes color dramatically when tilted while the ColourFix section retains its original color. At a particular angle, the Colorcast and ColourFix sections are the same color, but then change color when viewed at a different angle.

Colorcast/ColourFix thread: A security thread in the banknote paper with an optical surface featuring Colorcast/ColourFix.

Cotton: Raw material used for making banknote paper. Cotton is a natural fiber that is extracted from the seed hairs of the cotton plant. The textiles industry primarily uses long cotton fibers to produce high-quality materials. The short fibers that the textiles industry disposes of are used for the production of banknote paper.

CountryCode thread: Security threads that alternately depict a text element (usually the name of the country) and the country’s flag. CountryCode threads are completely embedded in the security paper, e.g. for passports.

Cylinder mould watermark: Also known as a genuine or multitone watermark. This is characterized by a high imaging accuracy and is able to represent the mapping of motifs in tone value, e.g. as preferred for mapping portraits in banknote paper. See also Fourdrinier watermark.


Demetallization: Production process in which text or design elements are removed from a metallic layer so that they are legible in transmitted light. Used for security threads and security stripes (LEAD®) in banknotes.


Embedded security feature: Security elements embedded in the paper during the paper production process. These security elements are considered to be especially secure since they are completely integrated in the paper and cannot be removed or added retroactively without destroying the paper, e.g. watermarks, security threads, security fibers, etc.

Embossed hologram: See Hologram embossing.

Electrical conductivity: The electrical conductivity of security elements can be measured with sensors and serves as a machine-readable authentication feature.


Features: Term referring to (security) characteristics.

Filigram®: Subtle yet effective security feature in combination with HybridTM.

Foil embossing: Embossing of an image in an embossing varnish applied to a foil, e.g. a hologram structure.


Haptic: Haptic perception refers to actively feeling an object’s size, contours, surface texture, etc. In the case of banknotes, it is the raised intaglio embossing and print which can be felt in particular. It is therefore a strong feature for the security of a banknote. See also Tactility.

Hot stamp foil: Foil with thermally activated release layers and adhesives applied entirely or partially to a substrate.

Holography: Holography is a method for rendering objects in three dimensions. The image is created by means of laser beams. The result, the so-called hologram, contains all the information on the three-dimensional structure of the object, providing considerably more detail than a normal photograph. In appropriate lighting, the original object is visible and can be seen at various angles.

Hologram: The term “hologram” is incorrectly used to refer to so-called surface embossing which uses light diffraction to show an image and angle-dependent colors. In addition to the visual properties of the image, the metallized aluminum structures serve as anti-copy protection features. They belong to the group of “optically variable devices” (OVDs). This hinders reproduction by means of scanners or color copiers. See also Hologram threads and Hologram stripes.

Holographic stripe = Hologram stripe: Security stripe with a holographic surface, normally available in widths of 8 to 15 mm, for application on a security substrate. Also known as the brand LEAD®.

Holographic foil = Hologram foil: Polyester foil embossed with a hologram; the foil is usually applied in stripes to the substrate surface using the so-called hot-stamping process which involves pressure and heat.

Hologram embossing: The holographic structure is embossed in a suitable layer of varnish applied previously by means of an appropriate tool.

Holographic thread = Hologram thread: Security thread with a holographic surface, normally available in widths of 2.5 to 5 mm, for embedding in a security substrate. See also Security thread.

Hybrid™: Hybrid is an innovative combination of protective polyester foil around a cotton fibre core.

Hybrid® ADDvance: New Hybrid variant that additionally enables the integration of all security features on notes of every denomination, even the lowest.


Intaglio print: Special high-security printing process, e.g. for banknotes and security printing. The result of such printing is characterized by the particular type of color embossing. Such prints are raised and can be felt (tactility).

InVisio®: A covert feature embedded in hologram threads or hologram stripes which is visible using a special reader.

Iridescent stripe: See Iridescent printed effect.

Iridescent printed effect: Iridescent color coating that renders various colors visible depending on the angle of view. The change in color is caused by the embedded pigments. Security element frequently used in banknotes which is discreet and hard to copy.


JetFix®: Security paper with special features for high-quality inkjet printing, e.g. passport paper.


Laminated foil: Foil stripe applied to a banknote paper which, particularly in the case of window elements, serves to cover the window. These stripes are normally equipped with additional optically variable printed effects.

LEAD®: LEAD is an acronym for “Long-lasting Economical Anti-copy Device.” The security system applied to the surface of the banknote or security paper, consists of a paper primer, a hologram stripe applied to it, and an integrated overprint, typically by means of intaglio embossing.

Levels of authentication: The authenticity of banknotes can be ascertained in various ways:
Level 1: using human senses such as seeing or feeling (so-called human features).
Level 2a: with the assistance of devices such as a magnifying glass, UV light, filters, etc.
Level 2b: sensors in processing machines (machine-readable features) and / or forensic devices, e.g. high-tech lab equipment (such as electron microscopes).

Liquid crystal: Optically active structures, e.g. for the generation of color-shifting printed effects. See also Colourshift.

Long grain: The long grain orientation of the paper fibers runs along the short side of the sheet. Standard in commercial printing. See also Short grain.

LongLifeTM: Banknote paper with dirt-resistant features to increase the service life of a banknote.


Machine readability: Characteristic which allows for automatic processing of banknotes and authenticity checks.

Machine-readable feature = Machine-readable authentication feature: Security features in or on banknotes or security documents that are machine readable and serve the purpose of determining authenticity.

Magnetic properties: Banknote features for automatic banknote processing using special banknote processing machines.

Micro optical structure: Magnetic feature of security threads in banknotes. MultiCode enables various coding and thus customer-specific information.

Micromirrors: Special algorithms position around 4 million tiny mirrors per square centimetre on the note, making them exceptionally hard to forge.

MultiCode™: Magnetic feature of security threads in banknotes. MultiCode enables various coding and thus customer-specific information.


Negative text: Transparent text on an opaque background which is visible when held up to the light. See also Security thread and Hologram foil.


Origination: The implementation of a design in a tool for the production of security elements.

OVD: Acronym for “optically variable devices,” which refers to security elements with optically variable surfaces such as holograms, iridescent printed effects, Colourshift, Moiré-magnifying features, etc.

OVS: Acronym for “optically variable stripe”. See also OVD.


Paper web formation process: Occurs during paper production on the cylinder mould machine when fibers are placed and arranged on the mould.

Patch, Hologram: Transfer foil embossed with a hologram; a stamp is used in conjunction with pressure and heat to emboss the image with the hologram foil.

Pixel watermark: Cylinder mould made watermark with pixel elements showing dark points (pixels) in front of a large light background.

Planchets: Round or straight-edged planchets which are integrated in the paper across the entire surface or within defined strips. Depending on the design, planchets may have different optical properties, e.g. fluorescence, iridescence, microtext. Rarely seen in banknotes these days.

Plastic banknote: The banknote substrate is made of plastic foil (polymer) unlike traditional banknotes made of cotton. See also Polymer banknote.

Pole®: Hidden information that is invisible to the naked eye but can be made visible under special lighting conditions. Pole is a very effective simple and secure security element for protection against counterfeiting at the point of sale.

Polymer banknote: The banknote substrate is made of plastic foil (polymer), unlike traditional banknotes made of cotton. See also Plastic banknote.

Positive text: Text on a light (transparent) background.

Primer: Typically a filling layer applied to the banknote surface by means of silk screen printing for smoothing the contact surface for foil application. It can contain luminescent and / or machine-readable properties.


Rainbow fluorescence: Fluorescence that glows in the colors of the rainbow upon application of UV light.

Registered positioning: Positioning of a security element or security print at defined XY coordinates, e.g. on the banknote surface.

Ream: Packaged unit containing a specific number of paper sheets (e.g. 500 sheets).

RollingStar®: A security thread on the basis of micromirrors with Colourshift showing a dynamic Colourshift reflection.

RollingStar® i+: Further development of the optically variable thread RollingStar. The innovative multi-facet substructure with an even more sophisticated way of aligning and shaping the micromirrors allows for an attractive and realistic look of the thread. The proven combination of dynamics, colour shift and magnetic technology takes a significant leap forward with RollingStar i+.

RollingStar LEAD: This stands for Long-lasting Economical Anticopy Device. It is a special foil based on micromirror technology that produces a dynamic, animated effect on the motif when the note is tilted back and forth.

RollingStar Patch: Colourful security foil patch applied on the front of a banknote with no need for a window underneath.


Security features = Security elements: Collective term. Elements on banknotes and security documents for the purpose of determining authenticity and protecting against counterfeits.

Security fibers: Security element made of rayon, plastic, or paper embedded in the banknote paper. The fibers are either visible or invisible to the viewer. The invisible fibers are only detectable under a UV lamp. They may glow in various colors.

Security foil: Foil with various optical effects, e.g. holograms, Colorcast, demetallization and combinations of various optically variable surfaces that are applied to the substrate surface.

Security level: Usage-based classification of security elements. There are usually three classifications: 1. The public – without the assistance of devices
2. Specialists with the assistance of devices and commercial banks
3. Central banks

Security papers: Papers that are secured against fraudulent copying and that are not generally available. These include, for instance, papers for passports, checks, and other documents.

Security stripes: See Hologram stripes.

Security thread: Foil stripes with built-in security elements, typically in the width of 0.8 to 5 mm, embedded into banknote and security paper. Options include fully embedded threads and windowed threads. For the embedding a cylinder mould paper machine is used. Security threads can include visual and functional surfaces, e.g. negative text by demetallization of an area, hologram, Colorcast, magnetic print, fluorescence, electrical conductivity, etc.

Short grain: The lengthwise orientation of the paper fibers runs along the long side of the sheet. Standard in banknote paper. See also Long grain.

Silk screen print: Printing process for the application of relatively thick layers of ink in roll and sheet printing. Typically used in banknote and security printing for the application of printed effects, e.g. iridescent printed effects.

Sound: The sound typical of banknotes. Experts also refer to this as crispness.

Specimen: Term meaning sample; specimen banknote = sample / banknote for promotional purposes.

Substrate: Base material for printing security documents, e.g. cotton paper for banknotes.


Tactility: The property of an object that can be felt. Tactile security features in banknotes are made by means of intaglio printing. See also Intaglio print, Haptic.

Tearing resistance: A measure of the tensile strength of substrates in mN as per ISO 1974.

Tensile strength: A measure of the tensile strength of substrates in kN/m as per ISO 1924.

TonerFix: Security paper for counterfeit-protected documents that is particularly suitable for personalization by means of laser printing.

Transfer foil: A stripe applied to a security paper whose carrier foil is removed during the application process. These stripes are normally equipped with additional optically variable effects.


varifeye®: Innovative window security element in banknotes based on windows in the substrate which are sealed with a laminate foil. This window element is usually equipped with further optically variable effects such as hologram foils.

varifeye® ColourChange: Window security element based on micro-mirror technology and dynamic color and motion effects

varifeye® ColourChange Patch: Front-to-back security application with color change and 3D effects which can be customized in size, shape and location.

View, incidental light, transmitted light, UV light: It is possible to check banknote paper in three different views: incidental light (i.e. the banknote is in front of the viewer), transmitted light (i.e. the banknote is held up to the light) and UV light (i.e. viewing with a UV lamp). The security features visible change depending on the view.


Watermark: A watermark is made during paper production by means of various thicknesses of paper – either thicker or thinner than the surrounding material – which results in a gray-toned image being visible. For banknotes, the cylinder mould process is used to apply watermarks that appear three-dimensional.

Watermark, allover: Watermark motifs evenly allocated over the whole surface of a paper.

Watermark, cylinder mould: See Cylinder mould watermark.

Watermark, electrotype: See Watermark, HighLight.

Watermark, fourdrinier: Also referred to as a moulette watermark, produced with fourdrinier paper machines, in which after sheet formation the nonwoven fibers are compressed or displaced into characters via a forming roll with images. In transmitted light, the result appears as a simple light/dark watermark. One typical application is for commercially available printing and writing paper.

Watermark, HighLight: Synonym for electrotype, e-type, watermark; generated during the sheet formation process and serves to especially highlight important information. This type of watermark is very light (because it is thin) and clear (because it is “sharply defined”). Example: indication of the value of the banknote within the watermark on euro banknotes.

Window thread: A security thread embedded in the banknote and appearing on the paper’s surface at defined points on the banknote (windows). When viewed straight on the security thread is partially visible, and appears across the entire length in transmitted light.