6th October 2021

The Need for Intuitive Authentication

by Tod Niedeck


As banknote creators, we understand how the public uses banknotes, the evolution of security threats and an objective method of feature evaluation to produce highly secure, functional and attractive banknotes.

We often ask our central bank customers to put themselves in the mindset of a counterfeiter. Cash transactions typically take between 10 to 22 seconds, while most people only glance at their banknotes using only a fraction of a second to verify them. Counterfeiters know this and target the most obvious features to replicate. Counterfeiters also know that the environments in which people make transactions is an important element of their successfully passing a fake. Sights and sounds distract and low or high contrast lighting influence the appearance of many features. High value security features must offer ease of use in all of these conditions and with only a glance.

The means to counterfeit banknotes and other secure documents is always evolving but the Digital Age is accelerating this trend.


A global market of decorative consumer and packaging products as well as 24/7 internet connectivity offers up would-be counterfeits access and information to counterfeit banknotes, features, materials and step by step instructions.  A methodology that can evaluate security features against these new and evolving threats in an unobjective way is critical.

 An effective public security feature evaluation method needs two elements:

  1. Counterfeit Risk Analysis: A quantifiable assessment of risk based on how well the feature is simulated; how much effort is required to produce it; and the volume produced in a given amount of time. A perfect simulation that takes great skill and a day to produce will have a risk level much lower than a feature that is simulated well in just minutes and in large volume.
  2. Public Ease of Use Analysis: An assessment that quantifies the ease with which a feature is located and authenticated. Security features that are highly obvious are easily noticed but authenticating them accurately may be difficult without instruction or careful examination.  Features that are easy to locate and authenticate intuitively rate highest.

The ideal state is manifest in security features that are easy to use and very difficult to simulate, and is the key to future-proofing banknotes.

Crane Currency provides security features that are developed with the public in mind. The human brain is drawn to movement and contrast. Crane Designers therefore eschew features that rely on complicated imagery in favour of easy-to-see elements and high contrast movements that are verified intuitively.

Crane Currency provides RAPID® HD, an advanced form of RAPID® micro-optic security thread that allows for even higher public engagement and ease of use. This intuitive feature is highly durable, and crafted on a technology having the strongest record of effectiveness.


Click here for more information on our micro-optics security.