How to Tell if a $100 Bill is Real: 9+ Easy Methods

100 us dollar bill

People can do some interesting things with technology and time. While technology makes it easy to make and print some documents from home there is a downside to this. People are able to use this technology to make fake money. They use it to impersonate real $100 bills and go around passing off this fake money. When a store owner goes to deposit it they will realize they have been scammed. These are some tips to help a person spot a fake hundred-dollar bill.

How to Tell if a $100 Bill is Real

Eye Test

Some security features will be present on a real hundred dollars that a counterfeit one will not have. There are some things that real money will have that even good fake money will not.


100 dollar bill watermark

The money in question should be held up at an angle where Benjamin Franklin will be on its right side. There will then be a watermark present on this bill. This mark was first put on to this bill in 1996 so a majority of these bills in circulation should be at least this old and have a mark.

Color Changing Ink (Liberty Bell)

color shifting liberty bell

Color changing is a real thing and it can be found on an authentic bill. These marks can be found in two different places on this bill. It is found on the Liberty Bell. It is also found on number 100 in its lower right corner. When this money is held up at an angle it should turn from a copper color to green. This was also put on to bills in 1996.

3D Security Ribbon

The $100 bil will have a ribbon for security. This is a vertical blue ribbon that will be on the side of The bill. To locate this ribber look for small 100s and liberty bells that will be part of this ribbon. When The bill is tilter The 100 and The bells will move sideways. This security feature was added in 2013.

Security Thread

blue security strip

This is another feature that was added and can be seen when looking at The bill from an angle. There will be The number 100 and USA several times on this threat. This may be hard to see at first. It is easy to see this security thread when The bill is held against a UV black light. This feature was added to The $100 back in 1990. You can also do this paper clip trick with the blue security thread


The $100 will have some small words that will be printed on it. These words can be found in several locations. It is so hard to see these words that a magnifying glass may be needed. There are words will be seen on Franklin’s collar and bottom of his picture. There are also tiny words that will be put on just to right of a brown quill. This was first used on these bills in 1990s. They are so small that many people do not even know they are there.

Check Serial Numbers

This can be effective for looking at newer bills. They are going to vary by year but this will help. A serial number is located in the upper right and lower left corners of hundred dollar bill. If this money is part of the 2009 series. The serial number will begin with the letter J. If the money is the 2009A series, the serial number will begin with the letter L. if there is anything different in these series then there is a good chance that the hundred is a fake.

The Feel Test

If a person has a newer hundred-dollar bill they can do a feel test. There will be a slight difference in the texture of its bill. A person can feel Benjamin Franklin’s shoulder. It should be raised slightly. This is hard to see but it can be felt. There should be a change in texture. This is something that is hard to fake.

Check Dates

While older bills are still beginning used and they are in circulation, the government is slowly phasing them out and replacing them with new bills with ad additional security features. Older bills are still legal and they can be used. Most hundred-dollar bills stay in circulation for 7 years. According to this bills from the 1980s and 1990s should be rare and they should be out of circulation. If someone is using several older bills this may be something to take note of and double-check their authenticity.

Counterfeit Money Detectors

Sometimes more is needed than the naked eye to determine if hundred dollar bill is a fake. There are some easy devices that can be used to help detect whether a hundred dollars is real or counterfeit. These detectors are low-tech devices and they can instantly tell if the money is fake.

Detector Pens

These products are easy to use and are inexpensive. They cost less than $10 and can help a person save a lot of money in the long run. This investment will help catch fake bills instantly. The money will turn color if it is fake. This will show up instantly and is a good tool to have in addition to an eye test.

These are some things that a person can do to determine if they are seen in a real hundred dollar bill or a counterfeit. While there are some good counterfeits out there that can pass just by a glance they cannot pass all of these tests. If a person is caught with fake money it is a federal crime. If a business receives fake money they cannot continue to use it and will need to take a loss. Spotting a fake hundred-dollar bill is important and these tests will help determine if money is real or fake and allow a person to make an informed decision.

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