7 Factors To Consider When Choosing a Counterfeit Detector

7 Factors To Consider When Choosing a Counterfeit Detector

7 factors to consider when shopping for a counterfeit detector

You just got duped with a fake $100 bill at your store and you’re looking to take more preventive measures to ensure it doesn’t happen again. We get it. After all, if one man is capable of printing $250 million himself you can imagine how many more counterfeits are circulating through the country.

A counterfeit detector is a great investment for safeguarding against fraudulent bills and protecting your bottomline. However, we understand that the terminology can be a little confusing for first-time buyers. It’s important to identify primary characteristics of counterfeit detectors, as well as what factors are most relevant to you.

So if you’re in the market for a new counterfeit detector and don’t know much about counterfeit detection, we’ve compiled a list of 7 factors you should consider when choosing a counterfeit money detector.


First of all, you will need to determine your budget before shopping for a counterfeit bill detector. Typically, the higher the price, the better the features or durability. The lowest price tier for counterfeit detectors are counterfeit pens, but we’ve already covered that counterfeit pens are not reliable and it’d be worth it to pay just a bit more to get a detector that has more functionality and versatility.

Auto vs. Manual

automatic vs. manual detector

Another price differentiator is whether a detector is automatic or manual. And automatic vs. manual is arguably the most important factor when shopping for a detector.

It’s important you know the differences between the two. Many people mistakenly get a manual detector thinking it’s automatic and are unpleasantly surprised when they’ve got to do the legwork themselves.

Automatic bill detectors determine whether a bill is possibly suspicious or not. They’ve got some measure of inherent technology that will determine whether a bill is not valid. All you need to do is insert the bill and the detector will take care of the rest. This is the reason why they are usually pricier than their manual counterparts.

Manual detectors, on the other hand, will require you to spot the differences yourself using the technology the detector supplies. Thankfully, there are resources where you can educate yourself on what you need to identify. For example, the Federal Reserve website provides a manual counterfeit detection guide so you can spot key discrepancies between fake and real bills. Another benefit of manual detectors is they can offer a bit more versatility since you can check passports, IDs, credit cards, and other non bill-related documents that are within their capabilities.

Additionally, there are also hybrid units, like our D490 2-in-1 Bill and Card Detector, that will give you the option to simultaneously scan while being able to detect manually.

Counterfeit Detection Features

When it comes to counterfeit detection features, a common misconception is that one is better than the other. That is to say, ultraviolet is “better” than infrared. That is not the case.

Think of each counterfeit detection method making up a small piece of a giant pie. The more security features a detector can read, the more comprehensive and powerful it is. There are many different types of detection methods, such as ultraviolet (UV), magnetic (MG), infrared (IR), watermark (WM) and more.

We advise getting a detector that can identify as many security features as possible. The more thorough you can be in your analysis, the more decisive you can be in your actions when you receive a suspicious bill.

Ease of Use

ease of use

One of the most underrated but important factors is ease of use. Think usability and speed.

For instance, when you’re scanning a bill in an automatic scanner, can you insert the bill in any direction? Because if you’ve got to orient every single bill you’re scanning, it’s going to take longer than one equipped with multi-directional scanning.

Is it easy to navigate? Some units are simple pass/fail, with audio/visual alerts to alert the user whether the unit is suspect. Other units are a little more detailed, highlighting to you why the bill is suspicious.

What about speed? As we’ve mentioned earlier, most automatic detectors will give you a result in seconds, while manual will take a small learning curve depending on the unit. Remember, time is money.


Dealing with international forms of currency? Make sure that your unit can detect other foreign currencies outside of USD. We’ve got detectors that can detect USD, MXN, CAD, GBP and more. This added layer of functionality is a must for global businesses.


If you’re someone who needs to verify bills on the go, choosing a portable unit with a battery would serve you well. For example, our D470 Quadscan has an optional external rechargeable battery unit that will allow you to scan on the go.


counting and reporting counterfeit detector

Some automatic detectors are capable of giving count breakdowns. Which means, they will aggregate values on valid bills while not counting suspicious ones. It’s a nice add-on for those who want to multitask and get total sums while detecting fraudulent bills.


We hope this serves as a good guide to help you choose a counterfeit detector! If you're also shopping for a money counter, make sure to check out our other article "6 Factors To Consider When Choosing a Money Counter".

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