the Department of the Treasury
Bureau of Engraving and Printing
About the New $20 Notes
safer, smarter and more secure $20 note began circulating
October 9, 2003, as part of the U.S. government's
ongoing effort to stay ahead of counterfeiting and
maintain worldwide confidence and trust in U.S.
currency. The redesigned $20 bill was the first
in the Series 2004 currency designs, which include
enhanced security features and subtle background
colors. The next note in the series, the $50 note,
was unveiled April 26, 2004, and was issued on September
28, 2004. The next denomination to be introduced
in the series will be the $10 note in 2005. The
$100 note is also slated to be redesigned, but a
timetable for its introduction is not yet set. The
government has no plans to redesign the $5 note
at this time, and the $1 and $2 notes will not be
The Series 2004 notes remain the same size and use
the same, but enhanced, portraits and historical
images, and above all, the world will continue to
recognize the new money as quintessentially American.
comprehensive public education program, which was
launched with the introduction of the new $20 note,
continues through the introduction of other denominations.
These efforts focus on communicating key security
and design features of the new designs so that the
public will recognize the new currency and check
it to ensure genuine. This program boosted public
awareness of the new $20 note’s features from
73 to 85 percent, and representatives of major banks
credit public education with a smooth introduction
of the new $20 note.
new $20 notes are safer, smarter and more secure: safer
because they’re harder to fake and easier to check;
smarter to stay ahead of tech-savvy counterfeiters; more
secure to protect the integrity of U.S. currency. Because
these features are difficult for counterfeiters to reproduce
well, they often do not try, hoping that cash-handlers
and the public will not check their money.
Hold the bill up to the light and look for the watermark,
or faint image, similar to the large portrait. The watermark
is part of the paper itself and it can be seen from both
sides of the note.
Thread: Hold the bill up to the light and look for the
security thread, or plastic strip, that is embedded in
the paper and runs vertically up one side of the note.
If you look closely, the words “USA TWENTY”
and a small flag are visible along the thread from both
sides of the note. The security thread also glows green
under ultraviolet light.
Ink: Look at the number “20” in the
lower right corner on the face of the bill. When
you tilt the note up and down, the color-shifting
ink changes from copper to green. The color shift
is more dramatic in the newly redesigned notes making
it even easier for people to check their money.
Because they are so small, microprinted words are hard
to replicate. The redesigned $20 note features microprinting
on the face of the note in two new areas: bordering the
first three letters of the “TWENTY USA” ribbon
to the right of the portrait, the inscription “USA20”
is printed in blue. And “THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
20 USA 20” appears in black on the border below
the Treasurer’s signature.
Feature: The large numeral “20” in the lower
right corner on the back of the bill is easy to read.
Federal Reserve Indicators: A universal seal to the left
of the portrait represents the entire Federal Reserve
System. A letter and number beneath the left serial number
identifies the issuing Federal Reserve Bank.
Numbers: The unique combination of eleven numbers and
letters appears twice on the front of the note.
stay ahead of currency counterfeiters, the U.S.
will be introducing new currency designs every seven
to ten years. Not only will many of these design
updates add complexity to the note and make counterfeiting
more difficult, other features will help the public,
particularly those who are visually impaired, to
tell denominations apart.
The most noticeable difference in the newly designed
$20 note is the addition of subtle background colors
of green, peach and blue to both sides of the note.
This marked the first time in modern American history
that U.S. cash included colors other than black
and green. The words “TWENTY USA” are
printed in blue in the background to the right of
the portrait and small yellow numeral 20s are printed
in the background on the back of the bill. Different
background colors will be used for the different
denominations. This will help everyone to tell denominations
of Freedom: Appearing on the front of the note are two
American eagle “symbols of freedom.” The large
blue eagle in the background to the left of President
Andrew Jackson’s portrait is representative of those
drawn and sculpted during his time period. The smaller
green metallic eagle to the lower right of the portrait
is a more contemporary illustration, using the same “raised
ink” intaglio process as the portrait, numerals
and engravings. The symbols of freedom will differ for
Portrait and Vignette: The oval borders and fine lines
surrounding the portrait on the front and the White House
vignette on the back of the note are removed. The portrait
is moved up and shoulders are extended into the border.
Additional engraving details were added to the vignette