Funny money found down in 2020 as digital payments rule

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Funny money found down in 2020 as digital payments rule

 
A Hana Bank employee holds up 50,000 won note in 2019. [YONHAP]

A Hana Bank employee holds up 50,000 won note in 2019. [YONHAP]

 
Counterfeit bills found by the central bank fell last year as more people used digital payments.  
 
According to Bank of Korea (BOK) on Monday, 272 counterfeits were found in 2020. That’s 20 fewer than the 292 counterfeits found in 2019, which is the record.
 
The decline in counterfeits is believed to have been the result of the social distancing regulations implemented to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.  
 
With the government limiting business hours, and restaurant and bars forced to shut at 9 p.m., many have resorted to making delivery orders via apps. This is believed to have reduced the opportunity to use counterfeits.  
 
According to Statistics Korea, as of November last year, online shopping increased 17.2 percent compared to the same period in 2019. There has been a significant surge of online shopping for food, up 49.7 percent, and consumer electronics, up 38.2 percent.
 
“Since cash payments could only be made face to face, the opportunity to circulate counterfeits has shrunk because of the Covid-19 spread,” said a central bank official. “[Yet] we plan to continue to raise awareness on counterfeits not only at financial institutions but also with ordinary people.”
 
A total of 116 5,000-won ($4.50) notes, 115 10,000-won notes, 26 50,000-won notes and five 1,000-won notes were found.  
 
The 10,000-won counterfeits slightly increased compared to the previous year. In 2019, 106 10,000-won counterfeits were found. In the case of 50,000-won notes, there were 50 counterfeits found in 2019, and for 5,000-won notes, 126 were found.  
 
The BOK said this is because it is easier to make fake 10,000-won notes than the 50,000-won notes. And they have more value than the lower denominated notes, which makes them more attractive to produce.
 
Last year, counterfeits found circulating at banks were 0.05 per one million. That’s far lower than 112.4 fake pound notes per million in Britain, 58 fake peso notes per million in Mexico and 23.2 euros per million in Europe.  
 
Among the 193 counterfeits detected at financial institutions, 140 were found in the greater Seoul area. Of the 140 notes, 71 were detected in Gyeonggi, while in Seoul there were 59. In Incheon, 10 counterfeits were found.  
 
BY YOUN SANG-UN   [lee.hojeong@joongang.co.kr]
 
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