When you arrive in Peru, adapting to the local currency of things should be one of your first moves. Unfortunately, while uncommon fake money in Peru can be a real problem, and travelers can be the target of scams. Spotting fake money can be hard, but worry not: here PeruByBus will offer you some tips for spotting fake money in Peru.


Spotting Fake Money

If you’re not familiar with Peruvian currency or handling money in Peru, read on for some general informatio,:

  • Peru’s official currency since 1991 is the nuevo sol (symbol: S/.). The national banknotes come in denominations of 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200. The S/. 100 is the most frequently used for currency exchange purchases, and some might not accept you 200 bills.
  • The Nuevo Sol comes in coin values of 01 cents, 10 cents, 20 cents, 50 cents, 1 sol, 2 soles and 5 soles. 0.05 and 0.01 cent coins do exist but are rarely used.
  • Peru is still very much a cash society, so make sure you always have cash in hands. In villages and small towns, it could be even impossible to withdraw money or use credit cards.
  • Fake money issues tend to be worse in heavily tourist populated areas, such as Cusco and Lima.

Spotting Fake Money in Peru 2

  • The places where you really need to have extra attention is in smaller enterprises or buses. The street markets, small tourist shops, people selling on the road and taxis are a common source of fake notes.
  • No matter how pleasant a person can seem – scams like shortchanging are also common – so always be on alert.
  • It’s normal to see people verifying that the money they receive is, in fact, real. Do not feel uncomfortable if you take the time to inspect your own currency.

How to check the money authenticity before accepting payments or change?

For bills:

1. Feel it!  – One good way to tell if a bill is fake.

Touch the bill. Peruvian authentic money is made 100% of cotton. Fake cash feels like an actual paper you would use in a printer, whereas real money feels like, well, money. Though some brand new notes can also feel somewhat paper-like, this is generally a good sign to detect fake bills.

Be aware that older bills will be more worn and more difficult to identify if you only use the “feel” technique.

2. Look at it – This is one of the most effective techniques.

Start by holding the bill up to a light source. When you put the bill in the light, you can clearly see the watermark in it. On fake banknotes, the watermark is printed on and tends to look blurry. Also, check out the security stripe. If you hold any old Nuevo Sol banknote up to a light, you can read the word “Peru” on the security stripe. This feature is only visible on the new S/. 10, S/. 20 and S/. 50 bills.

3. Touch it! – This security check technique requires tilting.

The color of the number (whether 10, 20, 50 or 100 soles) should change when you wave the bill slowly up and down. The denomination value (in the middle of old Peruvian Nuevo Sol bills and to the left of the image on the new bills) is printed with special ink. By tilting them slightly, a gradual change to green color is noticeable. The same thing happens in 200-soles bills, but the difference is that the first color is copper.

For coins:

  • The weight should be heavy.  After handling Peruvian coins for a while, you will be able to tell if a coin is lighter than it should be.
  • The coin shape should be round and well-formed.
  • The coin should be smooth without pock marks or rough parts.

If you compare a fake note to a real note, you can usually see the difference, though some fakes are surprisingly deceptive. Try this: whenever you get a 50 soles bill as change for a purchase in which you’ve paid 100 soles, make sure to check if the bill is fake using all the methods we described above.

Today´s lesson is finished, and we hope you´ve learned it well! It is definitely better to be safe than sorry.