News Plastic banknote

Published on September 29th, 2015 | by Rob Stebbings


Plastic Bank Notes Are On Their Way To A Cashpoint Near You Soon

From a circulation of about 3bn banknotes in the UK, it is thought that there are more than 700,000 counterfeit notes currently in circulation.

With this in mind the Bank Of England is introducing £5 and £10 plastic bank notes over the next two years to address the issue of counterfeiting. This is another significant change in the appearance of our currency and comes in the same year that a new portrait of the queen was revealed which will appear on coins.

Australia was the first country to issue solely plastic notes but several other nations have since followed suit.

The new plastic bank notes will be made from a thin, transparent and flexible film made of polypropylene which is coated with an ink layer. The design of these new banknotes allow for the inclusion of windows or clear portions in the design, used to enhance protection against counterfeits.

The Bank has said that these notes last for 2.5 times longer than paper bank notes. The new polymer banknotes are not only said to be far more robust to address the issue of counterfeiting, but they will also survive a spin in the washing machine!


How to spot a fake banknote – tell tail signs

Advice from the Bank of England when it comes to identifying counterfeit banknotes is as follows:

Running your finger across the front of the note you should feel raised print across the words “Bank of England”.

Holding the note up to the light and checking the watermark. You should see an image of the Queen in the clear oval area in the middle of the note. Carefully check £20 notes which, contrary to popular belief, are the most widely counterfeited notes, not the £50. A bright £20 should also show up in the watermark on a £20 note and a bright £50 on a new £50 note.

Look for the metallic thread running through every genuine note. It appears as silver dashes on the back of £5, £10, £20 and old £50 notes. If you hold a note up to the light, this thread should show up as a continuous dark line. The thread is fully embedded in new £50 notes so there are no silver dashes, but held up to the light it should still show up as a dark line.

In addition, the Securikey Counterfeit Detector Pen we stock at the Post Office Shop helps in checking the authenticity of banknotes as a brown or black mark will appear when the pen is used if the note is a forgery.

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