Badly Printed $100 Bills Are a Multibillion Dollar Problem

one hundred dollar bill
one hundred dollar bill

The Federal Reserve and Treasury have a multibillion dollar problem sitting in vaults in Texas.

In April, the government announced a new high-tech $100 bill that would feature security features such as a 3-D security strip and color-shifting image of a bell, CNBC reported.

The process hit a costly snag when it came to actually printing the money. The government has produced 1.1 billion of the new bills. Unfortunately, millions of these folded during the printing process, leaving a blank portion running across the bill face.

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The total face value of these bills is $110 billion, more than 10% of the entire physical supply of U.S. currency.

"There is something drastically wrong here," a person familiar with the situation told CNBC. "The frustration level is off the charts."

Authorities can't work out what caused the problem, or even what they should do about it. Sorting the bills by hand could take as long as 30 years and nobody has come up with a mechanized system to separate the good bills from the bad.

The defective bills, which could have a face value worth billions of dollars, will have to be burned.

For now, the bills, which cost a total of $120 million to print, are simply sitting in vaults in Fort Worth.

"The Fed's very unhappy, and the Bureau of Engraving and Printing is taking a beating unnecessarily," the person told CNBC. "Somebody has to pay for this."