A high-tech makeover for the new $100 bill

Starting today, there’s a new $100 bill.

“The biggest difference between the old and the new is the 3-D security ribbon,” said Michelle Scipione, vice president of cash services at the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.

The first-of-its-kind blue ribbon is woven into each new note, just above the left shoulder of a bigger and better Ben Franklin.

“It’s truly amazing,” said Scipione, “and a feature that is so hard to counterfeit.”

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The holographic ribbon and more color-shifting ink are the major security upgrades. The new Benjamins also feature a more colorful look, overall. There’s an orange feather quill on the front, a large “100” on the back and added texture to the ink. You can even feel the ribbing on Franklin’s jacket.

Scipione says fighting fakes, especially overseas, is the goal of all the detail work — though the Fed has been pretty successful so far.

“The statistic that we state is, one-one-hundredth of 1 percent of currency in circulation is counterfeit,” she said. “It’s low because we’ve been successful in staying ahead of the counterfeiters.”

It’s the first major upgrade for the hundred since 1996 — and a couple years overdue, thanks to printing problems.

Since the Federal Reserve is a quasi-governmental agency that is self-funded, officials say the partial government shutdown has had no impact.

Tourists passing by the C-note unveiling at the Franklin Institute Tuesday morning mostly seemed to like the new look.

“It’s pretty,” said Ginia Finch of Tigard, Oregon, near Portland. “When you go to Europe and stuff, and you see their money, it’s so pretty.

“Ours is always just so green and yucky,” she added with a laugh. “It’s nice to get some color into our money.”

You may start seeing the new bills in the next few days — they’re currently en route to financial institutions across the country — but the old banknotes will still work just fine. You can find more information at NewMoney.gov.

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