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Prop money is a particular type of currency that filmmakers use to make monetary transactions look realistic. Here's how it all works.

Prop Money: Everything You Need to Know

Prop money is a particular type of currency that filmmakers use to make monetary transactions look realistic. However, you need to be careful with any prop money, as it can lead you into legal trouble if you misuse them.

With technological advancement, prop money is growing in popularity. Also, purchasing it isn’t difficult anymore because of the available online platforms. However, to avoid legal problems, make sure you buy prop money for your film from a reputable dealer who follows the required regulations. In this detailed guide, you’ll learn everything you need about prop money and other helpful insights, including:

  • Understanding prop money history
  • What are the uses of prop money?
  • How to choose the right company when purchasing prop money
  • Is it legal to use prop money?
  • Where can you purchase legal replica money?
  • Who monitors prop money?
  • Can you purchase from third party entities?
  • What should you do if someone purchases your product with counterfeit money?
  • Counterfeit money vs prop money

Understanding Prop Money History

Where did replica money originate? The introduction of real currency contributed to the rise of fake money. However, unlike today’s world, where companies use prop money for entertainment purposes, the earlier users aimed at fooling the audience.

Today, counterfeit money is essential for entertainment companies because they can use it in their productions. The first movie to feature real money was “The Great Train Robbery” in 1903. The continued increase of fake money production led the U.S. government to burn using real money in movies.

During those days, many movie production companies used an expired Mexican currency. As the stock dried up, some companies seized the chance to enter the growing market. Many of them produced replica money that was similar to the actual currency, and it became a vital part of the entertainment sector. Today, the prop cash industry continues to grow, with many firms venturing into the industry.

What Are the Uses of Prop Money?

Many entertainment companies today are using prop money in their film productions. Its applications range from films to YouTube videos. Here are some ways you can use counterfeit money:


Many pranks you see on YouTube involve prop money. That’s why you may see up to $5 million in some of the videos. This is replica money, and the content creators use it to entertain their fans.

Films Industry

In addition, many famous Hollywood movies and TV series could not take place without the props necessary for some scenes. For example, in a Batman movie costing $5 billion to produce, the producers had to invest in prop money.

Why do entertainment companies opt for replica money even if they need a small amount? The U.S. rules and regulations prohibit anyone from disfiguring, defacing, cutting or mutilating a note, draft or bank bill. Individuals who break this may suffer consequences like getting imprisoned or paying a fine. This is why real money may not feature in movies even if the production company has it.

TV shows

Also, TV shows need props to advance their scenes. For instance, “Lucky Day” had a scene where gangs played poker with stacks of money. (The show could have used real money, but it would be too expensive — they resorted to using prop money instead.)These blank-filled props became part of the set design in “Money Heist.”

Prop money is crucial in the entertainment world, including movies and series, because many production companies depend on it for their production.

Music Industry

Apart from the film industry, music artistes also use props. However, they can involve real money in productions where destroying money won’t occur. For example, if a music video has a reasonable budget, an artiste may afford real money to show.

Fashion Industry

In the fashion sector, outfits and photoshoots may involve replica money. While fake currency use in fashion may not be broad, some instances may need models to show realness. In such a case, they may use props.


In an education setting, children may learn types of banknotes and their valuation using fake currency. This is sometimes referred to as play money. In addition, playing some games such as “The Allowance Game” may also require prop cash.

How to Choose the Right Company when Purchasing Prop Money

If you want to buy props for use in any of the applications outlined above, you need to find the right company. So how can you choose a firm that can offer a great deal and won’t put you in trouble? Here are some critical factors you may consider:

Reasonable Budget

Creating an excellent movie can be costly, with a movie production company likely to spend over $65 million for a highly rated film. A low-budget movie may cost approximately $2 million to produce. When it comes to music videos, an artiste may spend at least $10,000 for a low-budget music video, while higher budgets may go up to $20,000.

This means an established musician is likely to spend a lot on buying replica money when producing their music videos. That said, if you’re looking to purchase replica money, you want to buy from a company with reasonable offers. The banknotes you see on different music videos and movies are a small part of the budget but can significantly impact the outcome.

Prop Money Quality

When buying props for your production, you want them to look realistic to your target audience. This means the production process and material should be high quality. Here are some things you need to check during your purchase:

  • Your prop money should feel thin and soft
  • Its colors should match that of real money but adhere to the set legal regulations
  • Realistic replica bills’ size
  • Labels like “Not for Legal Tender” should be invisible to viewers

Your replica money needs to match the current actual notes. Understand that real currency may change after a few years, so ensure your provider is updated.

Legal Requirements

As counterfeit currency advance to match real money, the Secret Service is becoming more vigilant. Therefore, you want to be sure the prop money you purchase for your production line follows the legal requirements to avoid getting into trouble with law enforcement agencies. Characteristics that may guide you include:

  • Should contain labels such as “Replica Money” or “Not for Legal Tender”
  • The hologram shouldn’t match that of real notes
  • Prop notes should be a bit smaller compared to the real ones
  • Colors may not match those of real bills
  • The material shouldn’t be the same as that of real money

Provider’s Customer Service

Regardless of the kind of service you need, any company should satisfy its customers. For example, a firm offering prop money services should:

  • Be available for a discussion and transaction when necessary
  • Be reliable to offer the services you need most for your production
  • Have a user-friendly website to allow you purchase without getting frustrated

Is it Legal to Use Prop Money?

Typically, it would be best if you used props for advertising and promotion. Apart from the applications outlined earlier, using replica money for buying products or services is a crime. Unfortunately, some people do it despite understanding the regulations. For example, an article featured at explains how two suspects in Georgia used prop money to make purchases.

Entertainment companies use replica money in their movies for authenticity. This is why they need it similar to the actual notes. However, using this currency to buy items from unsuspecting vendors is a crime punishable by law.

Replica money may match the real bills such that the only quick way you may discover it is by recognizing the printed words to show it’s counterfeit. Unfortunately, without a keen eye, it can be hard to spot the imprints.

Some people may take this advantage to purchase from vendors who may not realize the note is counterfeit. If these notes find their way to the public, this can impact the local economy in many ways. The responsible agencies understand the potential economic damage counterfeit money can cause if users don’t stick to regulations.

If you get caught using replica money for purchases, you’re likely to face a jail term. According to the law, using counterfeit money to purchase items or seek services is a criminal offense.  For example, a story highlighted by points out that an Iowa man who tried to use counterfeit money faced a jail term of six months and supervision for two years after release.

To avoid running into trouble with law enforcers, you should only purchase prop money if you want to use it for marketing, promotion, advertising and media creation. Using it in any other way could equate to engaging in criminal activity. Depending on the circumstances surrounding your case, you could face a 20-year jail term or fine amounting to $100,000 if found using counterfeit money.

Despite the replica money legal implications, using it for the appropriate purpose can benefit companies in many ways, including making movie production look more authentic. Furthermore, if you follow the required procedures, you can use prop money without issues with law enforcers.

Where Can You Purchase Legal Replica Money?

With prop money becoming more popular, purchasing it for the right use shouldn’t be daunting. You can find a company offering reliable services whereby you won’t need to worry about possible legal issues because the provider follows the necessary legal requirement in creating and distributing the product.

For example, Prop Movie Money operates within the law and offers reputable prop money services. It has provided props to some renowned films such as “Fast & Furious 9”, “Army of the Dead”, “Breaking Bad”, and “Narcos.”

Whether you’re an individual or a business looking to purchase props for the proper purpose, reputable companies such as this can help.

Who Monitors Prop Money?

When printing any prop notes batch, the company needs to print its particular serial number on the money. This allows tracing to identify the replica money origin if it gets to the local economy. The Secret Service is responsible for finding the creator of the counterfeit money and evaluating whether the manufacturer had illegal or malicious intent.

If the Secret Service finds that you created the replica money without following the legal requirements put in place, you’re likely to get fined, and your entire money stock may get destroyed.

Can You Purchase from Third Party Entities?

If you don’t want to suffer possible legal consequences, you should purchase your replica money from reliable companies like Prop Movie Money. When looking to buy replica money, chances are you may get offers from different online sources like eBay and Amazon. However, you need to be sure about its origin because if the seller isn’t genuine, you could be engaging in a legal gamble.

For example, the Secret Service says the most common replica money in the local economy is prop money. This is because some sellers are after making more profits and may compromise legal requirements.

 Unfortunately, transacting with a third party entity could increase your likelihood of getting into trouble because if you get caught, you have to suffer the punitive consequences. In addition, it could be challenging to trace the original seller, although some third-party sellers could be genuine. For example, Amazon has faced legal issues in the past for selling replica money on their online store without following the due procedure.

What Should You Do If Someone Purchases Your Product With Counterfeit Money?

If you’re a vendor and someone gives you replica money as payment for your offers, you need to take the steps necessary for solving the issue. First, you need to be careful not to take such cash without knowledge. Here are a few things you can do if a buyer offers you counterfeit money:

  • Note the individual in terms of description
  • Put the counterfeit note in an envelope while limiting your contact with it
  • Try to track the owner’s location
  • Do not hand the bill back to the owner
  • Take the replica note to a Secret Service agent or the police

If you face this situation, be careful not to expose yourself to danger. For example, you don’t want to confront the fake note’s owner or force them to stick around if they don’t want to. If someone gives you counterfeit money, there’s little you can do to them. However, the steps outlined above may help.

Counterfeit Money Vs Prop Money

The primary difference between counterfeit and prop money is their use. For example, if you purchase products and services with replica money, you’re turning it into counterfeit. Replicated money becomes counterfeit if someone uses it with malicious or deceptive intent.

However, when you purchase prop money from reputable creators like Prop Movie Money and use it the right way, you’re free to do so and you won’t fall into legal pitfalls. You’ll have peace of mind using it knowing you transacted with a reputable company.


Prop money can offer value to those who need it, including music artistes and film production companies. It isn’t illegal as long as you use it within the set legal requirements. If you’re looking to buy replica money, don’t hesitate to reach a reliable platform.

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