Bank of England switches from paper to polymer notes.
Bank of England has launched new polymer £5 note. They have come into circulation on September 13, 2016. This is a drastic transformation for the bank. A change that took 320 years to happen. Initially, the UK had paper notes.
You will be amazed to know what all you can do with your £5 note. The Bank of England has cooked them in ovens, drowned them in red wine, stuck them in a microwave and run them through a washing machine. To your surprise, the bank note came out completely uninjured. This was because it is made of polymer and not paper. It is CLEANER, SAFER, STRONGER! According to a public consultation, about 87% people agreed for polymer currency in England.
Get to read the facts and myths behind this breakthrough for England.
The front of the note has portrait of Queen Elizabeth II on the obverse. The security features on the new plastic fiver include:
- The border of the see-through window changes from purple to green.
- Big Ben is shown in golden foil on the front
- Hologram that contains the word "five" changes to "pound", when tilted.
- The words "Bank of England" printed in raised ink at the top of the note.
The note has a portrait of Winston Churchill on the reverse. The Security feature on the back side- the silver colour of the Big Ben. It aims to celebrate the bulldog spirit of the great Winston Churchill. "I think it's a marvellous tribute to Churchill; it's a very handsome and generous tribute. I think the fiver is the note most of us use most of the time. I think he'd be chuffed to bits to think he was on the people's banknote and he would never have expected it. He was [also] chancellor of the exchequer, but I have to say not a very good one. I think he'd be thrilled and certainly, his family are very honoured and thrilled that 51 years after his death he should be remembered in this way", said Sir Nicholas Soames, his grandson.
This is the ancestral home of the wartime leader, Winston Churchill, here the new £5 note was unveiled. Carney, the Governor of the Bank of England said, "It is resistant to dirt and moisture, so the note won't wear out as quickly as the current fivers but will stay in good condition for longer", at the launch.
These old paper 5-pound notes will soon become collectibles with the advent of the new polymer ones. There are 329 million 5 pound notes in circulation in the UK. These old paper notes will probably disappear from circulation by the end of this year. Also, after May 2017, they will not possess a legal tender. But all withdrawn Bank of England notes remain payable at the face value for all time. As of now, Northern Ireland has no plan to issue the new polymer notes but will accept them.
"It is stronger than paper and can better withstand being repeatedly folded into wallets or scrunched up inside pockets. Polymer notes can survive a splash of Claret, a flick of cigar ash, the nip of a bulldog, and even a spin in the washing machine afterwards to boot." Carney said. Although difficult to tear, but if suffering from a small nick, they may tear easily.
This is not true. They may be plastic but they are easily foldable, as much as you desire. "Bounce-backability" is a good feature that they possess. There is another myth doing the rounds that they cannot be dispensed from vending machines but this is nonsense.
Another test for the Queen of England! When submerged in red wine, herc majesty's face on the paper note turns to a puce colour but stays fresh on the new polymer note and can be simply wiped clean. The Bank says, "The impermeable and non-fibrous nature of polymer means it repels dirt and moisture" The bank claims that these new notes will have a life of 5 years, 2.5 times the paper ones.
Of now, atleast 30 countries are using polymer notes, Australia since last 20 years. New Zealand and Canada are some of them.
They're weather-proof for the UK. They can survive snow, beaches, and high temperatures. But shrink on ironing. So, beware guys, don't forget currency notes in your pants anymore!
At a cost of 7.4 pounds per note, the new polymer 5-pound note is twice as expensive to produce as the paper note. But, over time it will cost less because it lasts longer. This long life span makes it environment-friendly too. A good news too, you will no longer get to see a torn note patched together with sticky tape, all because these cannot be torn! Further, it is claimed that the new ones are 15% larger than the old paper notes.
The fiver is to be followed by new Jane Austen £10 note in the summer of 2017 and JMW Turner £20 note in 2020. A decision is yet to be made on the £50 note.For your information, the bank of England has spent around 70 million pounds on the research, development and printing of the new notes. The Bank concedes co note is counterfeit-proof but says that copying the new polymer notes will be more expensive and slower.
Lastly, Carney said at a press conference,"Our polymer notes will combine the best of progress and tradition. They will be more secure from counterfeiting and more resistant to damage while celebrating the history and tradition that is important both to the Bank and the nation as a whole."
Have a look at how the new fiver is made.