Banknotes are conventional medium of exchange used in trade and financial obligation settlements. Despite increasing popularity of credit and debit cards usage amid development in electronic-settlement nowadays, banknotes still play a vital role in lubricating domestic economy. As of end-2012, outstanding volume and value of circulating banknote in the financial system were at 4.81 billion notes worth THB1.399 trillion.
The Bank of Thailand’s Banknote Management Group is responsible for production activities and management of banknotes to ensure adequate volume of quality banknotes in circulation.
The Bank of Thailand targets annual banknotes supply in accordance with economic conditions and demand for each denomination of banknotes. In order to maintain confidence in the value of printed banknotes, the BOT strictly complies with the Currency Act B.E. 2501, requiring all circulated banknotes to be fully-backed at all time by Currency Reserve. Legitimate components of Currency Reserve include gold, certain foreign currencies, foreign securities, and other assets prescribed by the law. Currency reserve must be maintained and kept in separation from other BOT’s assets so as to ensure that the amount of circulated banknotes does not outpace value of existing currency reserve.
Key units under the Banknote Management Group
1) The BOT’s Note Printing Works is responsible for printing banknotes and other printing materials as stipulated by the BOT such as duty stamps, excise stamps, and postage stamps.
2) Banknote Management Group controls 10 Banknote Operation Centers nationwide, which will manage banknotes in the financial system to ensure they are in proper conditions for circulation.
Since the 1902 inauguration of banknotes in the Thai financial system, 16 series of banknotes have been in circulation. The present circulated banknotes are the THB20, THB50, THB100, THB500, and THB1000 notes of series 15 and the THB20 and THB50 notes of series 16. Furthermore, the BOT also prints and issues commemorative banknotes for key state celebration occasions.
Design and Printing
Besides artistic beauty, functionality, and cultural identity, other essential characteristics needed in designing and printing banknotes are counterfeit deterrence features such as watermark, metallic color security thread, invisible fluorescent fibre, and special type of printing ink.
Counterfeiting is a very serious offense and the maximum punishment by Thai law for the conviction of this charge is life sentence. Having counterfeit banknotes in circulation could deteriorate confidence in the genuine banknotes and the country’s financial stability. Therefore, the BOT has strived to develop and apply new anti-counterfeiting technologies with banknotes while promoting public awareness of counterfeit deterrence features and urging the people to develop a habit of probing banknotes that come across them. Keeping banknotes in circulation clean and stay in good conditions make it easier to notice anti-counterfeiting features. The capability of people in the financial system in noticing counterfeit money is the most crucial factor in breaking the counterfeiting circle.
Interesting tips on banknotes
Several tips that the public should be aware about banknotes include:
1. People can learn about how to probe banknotes by using three simple methods of touching, see through light, and view from different angles. Free handouts on ways to notice counterfeit deterrence features are available at International and Public Relations Section under the Banknote Strategic Planning Department of the Banknote Management Group at Tel: 0 2356 8687 to 8690
2. Counterfeit Banknotes are illegitimate and cannot be spent or used as medium of exchange. Those who received counterfeit banknotes should separate these banknotes, mark them as Counterfeit, and report to the Police or the Bank of Thailand.
3. Printing counterfeit banknotes could result in life imprisonment. The authorities provide up to THB10,000 reward for those who can provide traces on printing or distribution source of counterfeit banknotes that eventually lead to an arrest.
4. Damaged banknotes cannot be used for legitimate financial settlement but they can be exchanged for new banknotes in case the damages meet BOT’s criteria. The exchange can be made at all branches of the Government Savings Bank on all working days and at branches of commercial banks nationwide (except at sub-branches and branches in department stores) every Wednesday. For more information about damaged banknotes, please contact Banknote Verification Section of the Banknote Management Group at Tel: 0 2356 8736 to 8737.
5. The BOT holds copyrights of all banknotes. To distribute pictures of banknotes through any form of media, an official request along with artwork samples must be submitted to the BOT for consideration. Unauthorized usage of banknote pictures or imitation of banknotes would be considered violation of copyrights and could lead to legal charges.
6. To use pictures of banknotes in any media, position of the banknotes must not attaint the Monarchy and the Bank of Thailand in any way. General guidelines for using pictures of banknotes are:
- Display only parts of banknotes, not fully exposed banknotes, or
- Display in other angles than direct view of banknotes and
- Display in black & white
- In case banknotes are displayed in color or in direct view, the size of the picture must be explicitly smaller or larger than actual banknotes.
Should there be any query regarding usage of banknote pictures, please contact Tel: 0 2356 8689 to 90.
7. To prolong the life of printed banknotes, which would reduce the necessity to print new banknotes and save the country’s money-printing budget, banknotes should not be crumpled, creased, written on, stamped on, stapled, or used for any form of invention or other purposes.
High standard of Thai banknotes
With serious commitment in developing banknote management system, the BOT’s Banknote Management has consistently won a number of awards and certificates from respectful agencies such as:
- First runner-up of the Asean Energy Awards 2013 on energy management in large buildings
- Certificate for entering the final round of the Thailand Kaizen Award 2013
- Awarded outstanding enterprise on occupational safety, health, and work conditions in 2012
- The Sixth-Cycle (72nd) Birthday Anniversary of Her Majesty Queen Sirikit commemorative banknote has won Des Jahres 2004, or Banknote of the year Award, as the world’s most beautiful banknote rated by Munzen & Papiergeld magazine
- Awarded ISO 9001, ISO 14001, TIS/OHSAS, and IMS by ISO
“Banknote is a medium for trade settlement that also acts as lubricant for the economy. The Bank of Thailand is responsible for producing adequate banknotes to accommodate the people’s spending demand and manage banknote supply to ensure those in circulation are in good shape to use.”