Melbourne company Innovia Security’s currency technology

Australian currency

Melbourne has been at the technological forefront of currency security for decades, and few companies are a better representation of that success than Innovia Security.

In today’s age of tap and go style credit card payments and online transfers, physical cash is still a vital part of day-to-day life. Australian currency, including notes and coins, are well regarded around the globe as being a leader in the fight against counterfeiting. This is in part due to the efforts of a Melbourne-based company called Innovia Security.

Australia’s banknote security has not always been this reliable. After a major counterfeit fraud in 1966 involving the $10 note, the Australian government and the Reserve Bank of Australia needed to look at ways of combating this threat to our national currency.

Twenty million Australian dollars and two decades of development between the government’s scientific department, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and the University of Melbourne resulted in a new benchmark for currency security: the polymer banknote.

Often referred to as ‘plastic money’, polymer banknotes were first issued in Australia in 1988 as a $10 note. This note contained the first transparent window and first currency hologram of any type in the world, making it the most secure banknote of its time.  After being successfully received by the Australian public, the $5, $20, $50 and $100 notes were released into circulation in subsequent years.

The Melbourne-based company behind some of today’s most innovative security measures, Innovia Security has established itself as a global banknote security leader with production plants in Mexico, the UK and Melbourne; the global headquarters and core business of development, research and manufacturing have remained in Melbourne, where it all began.

Carlos Fernandez, the Communications Manager for the company, says it has almost 200 Melbourne-based staff and praises the calibre of higher education available in the city.

The rest of the city has a lot going for it too, of course:

“Competitive salaries, world-class manufacturing facilities and being one of the most liveable cities in the world make Melbourne very attractive to high-quality technical industry professionals,” says Fernandez.

Some of this innovative security technology developed in Melbourne includes holographic visuals created partially from silver nanoparticles. Other security technologies include images in the note’s transparent window that can only be viewed in certain light conditions and  colour-switching ink pairs that change colour depending on the angle of the light.  

All of these security innovations were developed to be applied to bank notes around the world and as such needed to be flexible, hard wearing and resilient to advanced counterfeiters. Fernandez says their technologies are currently in circulation around the world, including Poland, Nicaragua, Mexico and Singapore.

Initially developed in Melbourne, Innovia Security’s technology is now used everyday by millions of people across 24 countries and 80 denominations. It’s hard to imagine a better mark of success than that.