Can Vending Machines Detect Fake Money?

Can Vending Machines Detect Fake Money
A Young Male Purchasing Snack From a Vending Machine.

For most of us, using a vending machine is a simple and straightforward process. We insert our money, make our selection, and receive our item. We do all without worrying about whether the money we used is genuine or counterfeit.

But can vending machines detect fake money? Vending machines use size, weight, and magnetics to detect whether a coin is fake or not. Additionally, vending machines scan bills for certain marks. Older machines use simple optics, but the new ones use special scanners and sensors. However, if you have old bills, newer vending machines may not accept them.

Read on to find out how these machines spot counterfeits. If you are a new owner of a vending machine, you might also be wondering where vending machines are most profitable; I wrote a whole article that I encourage you to read.

What Is a Vending Machine?

A vending machine provides users a diverse range of products, including snacks, pizzas, beverages, newspapers, cupcakes, and tickets. Generally, a vending machine works by dispensing a product to you based on the amount of money inserted and the product selection (Source: Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT))

Moreover, a vending machine consists of simple electro-mechanical systems that help automate the entire vending process. Its essential function is to issue users with various products flawlessly at any time.

Does Fake Money Work In Vending Machine?

Generally speaking, a vending machine will not take fake money. Vending machines measure the size and metal of coins to determine whether they are nickels, dimes, quarters, or simple fake money. In addition, vending machines use a digital camera to scan and recognize bills by critical features.

Some vending machines typically use ultraviolet scanners to gauge the glow from a bill to verify it is real. Furthermore, many vending machines use a magnetic reader to detect a bill’s magnetic signature and determine its authenticity and denomination.

How Vending Machines Detect Fake Money

Most modern vending machines are equipped with ultraviolet scanners that scan each bill that is inserted into the machine. These scanners are able to detect certain features of the bill that are unique to genuine currency, such as watermarks and security threads. When a bill fails the scan, the vending machine will reject it and return it to you.

In addition to being equipped with UV scanners, many vending machines are outfitted with counterfeit detection software. This software utilizes sophisticated algorithms to analyze each bill inserted into the machine to determine whether or not it is authentic. This type of software has become increasingly popular in recent years due to its accuracy and cost-efficiency.

Watch the video below to learn more about how vending machine works.

What You Need To Know

Remember that vending machine money detectors aren’t foolproof; they can still make mistakes and reject legitimate bills as counterfeit. I suggest you also learn how to detect fake money manually.

Additionally, I recommend you have procedures in place for dealing with customers who think their bills have been rejected unfairly to keep your customers happy and satisfied.

What to read next:

Common Reasons Why Vending Machines Return Money

I remember one day, I put a bill into a vending machine, and suddenly, the machine returned back to me. I researched and found out there are a few reasons why a vending machine may return your money:

  • If you feed the machine with crumpled bills with deformed patterns, it will be impossible for the machine to read it as real.
  • As we all know, money can pick up a lot of dirt as it travels around, and the dirt might rub off inside the vending machine. In the long term, the vending machine’ detector will become too dirty to scan the bills correctly.
  • I also realized that even if a vending machine accepts $10 bills but if it doesn’t have change, it won’t take the bill.
  • Also, remember vending machines generally wear out. If the belt that transports the bills to the scanner breaks, it will not generally return your money. 

Wrapping Up

Vending machines have come a long way when it comes to detecting fake money! With ultraviolet scanners and sophisticated counterfeit detection software becoming increasingly common in these machines, customers do not need to worry about using anything but genuine currency when making purchases from them.

Additionally, some vending machines also use magnetic ink detection systems to check if bills have been printed with special magnetic ink that real currency contains.


Welcome all! I am Altiné. I am SO excited you are here! I am the guy behind The Entrepreneur Journey. I am a blogger, Amazon private label seller, and I share everything I have learned along this journey with YOU

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