Paper Money

Macau will release a new note series for 2024

The first two denominations in a new series of bank notes issued by the Banco Nacional Ultramarino for the Chinese Special Administrative Region of Macau will be issued during the first quarter of 2024.

Images courtesy of the Banco Nacional Ultramarino.

The first two denominations in a new series of bank notes issued by the Banco Nacional Ultramarino for the Chinese Special Administrative Region of Macau will be issued during the first quarter of 2024, the Monetary Authority of Macao announced.

The 10- and 20-pataca notes (equivalent to $1.25 and $2.50 in U.S. currency) from the Banco Nacional Ultramarino and the Bank of China will retain the same denominations, sizes, and overall color schemes as the old series, but the new versions will include advanced anti-counterfeiting technologies and enhanced color-changing and dynamic effects for easy visual identification by the public.

The Bank of China notes will highlight a traditional Chinese folk activity, the lion dance, on the face, while showing Macau’s landmarks and symbols on the back. Further details about landmarks were unavailable at press time. Recent issues have been printed by Hong Kong Note Printing Limited.

The Banco Nacional Ultramarino issues, designed by De La Rue, were the subject of considerable publicity from the English company. They carry some of the printer’s advanced security features.

Design details

The face of each note shows an updated intaglio vignette of the Banco Nacional Ultramarino building. The lotus flower, Macau’s floral emblem, is reproduced in an optically variable magnetic ink and is embedded in the watermark.

The backs take one on a journey through the transformation of Macau’s geography through a series of historical maps. Accompanying each map are vessels from the corresponding era, providing a glimpse into Macau’s maritime history, with land reclamation significantly altering the region’s shape. The 10-pataca note, for instance, features a map from 1635, providing a unique perspective from a hillside overlooking Macau and an eastward orientation — a nod to ancient map traditions in this region.

The notes incorporate iridescent effects and De La Rue’s Gemini security feature, which is revealed under ultraviolet light.

“We are thrilled to introduce this stunning new banknote series to the world which embodies the rich history and vibrant future of Macau,” said Ruth Euling, managing director, currency, and executive director.

The other denominations, 50-, 100-, 500-, and 1,000-pataca notes, will be released in 2025 and 2026.

According to The Standard, “The Bank of China, and Banco Nacional Ultramarino is each authorized to issue a maximum of 80 million units of 10 patacas, 120 million units of 20 patacas, 50 million units of 50 patacas and 80 million units of 100 patacas.

“The banks are also authorized to release a total of 24 million units of 500 patacas and 12 million units of 1,000 patacas,” an online article of The Standard said.

The Monetary Authority of Macao acts as a central bank. It granted authorization to two commercial banks, the Banco Nacional Ultramarino S.A. and the Bank of China (Macau) Limited, to issue bank notes in Macau. The authority was established on Dec. 20, 1999, when, similar to Hong Kong’s 1997 transfer from the United Kingdom, sovereignty was transferred from Portugal to the People’s Republic of China as the Macau Special Administrative Region.

Security devices

The new notes are expected to have various security features, including: a windowed security thread, watermark, holograms, UV features in multiple colors, and embossed (tactile) denomination numerals.

According to Keesing Platform, “This new series of banknotes will introduce an accessibility feature to help the visually impaired; embossed (tactile) horizontal lines at the left and right edges of the banknote, and braille marks in the lower right corner, will allow consumers to ‘read’ the note’s denomination.”

About the issuer

Banco Nacional Ultramarino was established in Lisbon, Portugal, in 1864, according to, to act as a Portuguese bank with focus on Portugal’s overseas territories. The name “Banco Nacional Ultramarino” translates to “the overseas national bank.”

The bank was granted exclusive rights to issue bank notes in Macau in 1901, all in pataca denominations.

“In agreement with the BNU, on October 16, 1995, the Macau branch of Bank Of China also got the right to issue banknotes,” according to the website.

The Bank of China (Macau) has its origins as the Nam Tung Bank, founded in June 1950. The Bank of China (Macau) started business on Nov. 21, 2022, according the bank website.

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