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The United States is refreshing its currency, and one of the most eye-catching updates is to the $100 bill. The new banknote was released in 2013 and features some important changes. Drawing from authoritative sources such as the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Federal Reserve, this article takes a closer look at the new 100 dollar bill, so you can better understand what it looks like,why it's been redesigned, and the challenges it faces in the modern financial landscape.

The Security Features of the New 100 Dollar Bill

One of the primary goals of the redesign was to make it more secure and difficult to counterfeit. To that end, the new hundred dollar bill includes several new security features. These include:

  • 3D Security Ribbon - Near the center of the bill, you'll find a blue ribbon with multicolored pattern of bells and numeral 100s printed on it. When you move the bill, the images appear to change and move. This effect makes it harder for counterfeiters to reproduce the note accurately.
  • Color-Shifting Ink - On the front of the bill, you'll also find the number 100 printed in color-shifting ink. The color of the ink appears to shift from copper to green when the bill is tilted. This makes it nearly impossible to replicate with traditional printing methods.
  • Microprinting - Around the portrait of Benjamin Franklin, you'll find tiny words and numbers printed in microprinting. This makes it much harder for criminals to produce accurate copies.
  • Watermark - On the right side of the bill, you'll find a faint image of Benjamin Franklin. This image is actually part of the paper itself and is not printed on top. It is visible from both sides of the bill, making it an effective anti-counterfeiting measure.
  • Security Thread - A vertically embedded security thread to the left of the portrait features microprinting of "USA" and the numeral "100." The thread is also visible under UV light, providing an additional verification method.

Other Design Changes to the New 100 Dollar Bill

In addition to the new security features, the redesign of the 100 dollar bill included several other design changes.

  • Improved Durability - The new bill is made of a polymer material that is more durable than the old paper notes. This means that the notes will last longer and be less prone to wear and tear.
  • Enhanced Design - The overall design of the bill has been improved to make it easier to read and recognize. The portrait of Benjamin Franklin has been enlarged, and the numerals indicating the denomination of the bill have been moved to the lower right corner.
  • Raised Printing - The use of intaglio printing gives a tactile quality to the bill, particularly on the portrait and significant text, aiding those with visual impairments in identifying the note.
  • Color Scheme - The bill's dominant color has been shifted to blue from green, with the addition of red and blue fibers interspersed throughout the paper, which are integrated during the papermaking process and not printed on.

Physical Characteristics of the New U.S. Dollar Bills

The new design of U.S. dollar bills, which includes enhanced security features, maintains the standard dimensions and weight that have been characteristic of U.S. currency for many years. According to the United States Bureau of Engraving and Printing, a single U.S. dollar bill measures 6.14 inches (15.6 cm) in length and 2.61 inches (6.63 cm) in width, regardless of the denomination. The weight of a single dollar bill is approximately 1 gram. The uniform thickness is due to the standardization in manufacturing processes and materials used, which include a blend of 75% cotton and 25% linen.

Curious about more physical properties of your money? Look no further. In our article, How Much Does a U.S. Dollar Bill Weigh?, we delve into the specifics of the weight of each denomination.

Why Was the 100 Dollar Bill Redesigned?

The new 100 dollar bill was designed to make it more difficult for criminals to counterfeit. Counterfeiting is a serious problem for governments around the world, and the US government wanted to make sure that its currency was as secure as possible. The new security features make it much harder for counterfeiters to create realistic copies of the bill. If you're still worried about receiving counterfeit dollars in the U.S., having a state-of-the-art cash counting machine that can detect counterfeit currency can take the worry away!

The Circulation Dilemma of the New 100 Dollar Bill

Although the new 100 dollar bill has seen significant improvements in design and anti-counterfeiting technologies, it has encountered a series of issues in actual circulation. In everyday life, the use of large-denomination bills is not as convenient as one might think. Many small vendors and retail stores, due to their inability to provide sufficient change or concerns over large transactions, choose to refuse 100 dollar bills. This situation is particularly common when consumers purchase low-value items, leading to inconvenience during payment.

On social media, many people have shared their awkward experiences using 100 dollar bills, gradually creating a consensus. People have started to believe that using large bills for small transactions is inappropriate and sometimes even subject to scrutiny by those around them. Economists are concerned about this phenomenon because high-denomination bills are frequently used in illegal activities, which to some extent associates them with the underground economy.

With the popularity of electronic and credit card payments, the usage of cash in daily transactions has declined, especially during the pandemic when cash usage significantly dropped, although it has somewhat rebounded. However, cash is no longer the mainstream method of payment. This cashless society trend makes the circulation of 100 dollar bills even more challenging, particularly in the context of the increasing prevalence of digital payments.


The new 100 dollar bill includes several important changes, including enhanced security features and a redesigned look. The goal of these changes is to make it more difficult for criminals to produce accurate copies of the bill.

However, the bill also faces the ongoing challenge of adapting to a changing financial ecosystem where cash is increasingly supplanted by digital transactions. As the U.S. government continues its efforts to ensure the currency's security and reliability, it must also balance these with the practical considerations of its use and acceptance in the marketplace. We look forward to a future where the dollar not only maintains its iconic status but also evolves to meet the dynamic needs of the global economy, thereby reinforcing its role in the world's financial landscape.

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