By Breanna Brown, Creative Marketing Ambassador, APG Cash Drawer, LLC
Come September, “paying with plastic” in the United Kingdom won’t necessarily mean swiping a charge or debit card. That’s because the Bank of England (BoE) is introducing a new polymer £5 bill – or “note” in the local parlance – and plans to follow it up with £10 and £20 denominations in 2017 and 2020, respectively.
A polymer is a molecular structure found in certain plastics, which means the UK’s new banknotes will be made of plastic. Polymer notes are nothing new, since the first one was introduced in Australia in 1988. Since then, several central banks have replaced their paper bills because polymer notes are harder to counterfeit thanks to the types of ink used on them. They are also cleaner and last longer. BoE estimates polymer notes last two and half times longer than paper.
Undoubtedly, security and durability are desirable characteristics in banknotes, considering the transient nature of physical currency and how often bills are handled throughout their lifecycles. But, as is often the case with change, the introduction of plastic money has caused some consternation in the UK because some existing cash recyclers and ATMs will not be able to process the new bills. This, according to POS solutions vendor NCR, will accelerate ATM replacements.