2016 is a big year for banknotes. A new £5 note will be issued by the Bank of England in September, and will be followed by a new £10 note in 2017 and new £20 note by 2020.
The Bank of England has been issuing banknotes for over 300 years. These have evolved from handwritten paper notes signed by the Bank’s Cashiers in the 17th century to the high quality paper printed banknotes containing a range of complex security features seen today.
The new notes will be printed on polymer – which is cleaner, more durable, and more secure than paper – incorporating advanced security features that make them more difficult to counterfeit. Polymer is a thin and flexible plastic material that fits into wallets and purses just like paper notes.
Victoria Cleland, the Chief Cashier, said ‘polymer – incorporating complex windows and sophisticated security features – delivers a leap forward in counterfeit resilience’.
The notes will retain the traditional look of the existing notes, with a portrait of Her Majesty the Queen on the front. Sir Winston Churchill will feature on the back of the £5 note, and Jane Austen on the back of the £10 note. The new notes will be smaller than the current paper notes.
Will you be ready?
All retailers and businesses that handle cash need to prepare. Customers will be using the new £5 notes from September and, before the new £10 note is issued in late 2017, the old £5 paper notes will have been withdrawn.
Machines that handle cash need to be updated. The first step is to make sure you know which cash handling machines are being used by your business. Then you need to talk to your suppliers. For most machines, a software update will be needed.
Your staff need to be trained to recognise the new notes. The Bank of England will be unveiling the full design and security features for the new £5 note around three months before the issue date, and a range of training materials will be available. This is a good opportunity to remind staff how to check the security features on all notes.
With less that nine months to go until the new fiver is issued, now is the time to start thinking about how you can make the transition as smooth as possible for your business and your customers.
Keep up to date with the latest information about polymer banknotes, and other banknote news, by registering at: www.bankofengland.co.uk/banknotes/Pages/subscribe.