This hopefully (and very likely) goes into the category of entertainment — not reality.
Everybody loves a good conspiracy theory. First, there was a crazy theory that the new $20 bill shows hidden pictures of the 9/11 attacks. Now, there’s speculation that the the new $20 bills have a little something extra besides the pretty colors. According to this site, they’re embedded with Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) chips that can set off those monitoring devices at store exits designed to alert personnel that you’re walking out with tagged merchandise.
The author claims that you can “fry” the RFID tag by putting your money in the microwave – but it may explode if you do (although apparently the results do vary depending on what microwave machine you’re using). I would not test this at home — if there is an RFID tag in the money, microwaving an RFID tag will release some unpleasant chemicals that aren’t too healthy — and you’ll destroy your nice $20 bill in the process.
If you don’t want your money tracked, don’t think you’ll avoid it by leaving the country. A link from this site takes you to a story written way back in 2001 about how the European Central Bank was planning to embed RFID chips in all their euro notes by 2005. True or not?
(US Treasury site on this new bill here.)
Alex Eckelberry and Deb Shinder