20 April 2014

Carney: UK could switch to plastic bank notes

18 February 2013  |  5523 views  |  1 20 pound note

Incoming Bank of England governor Mark Carney has hinted that he could bring Canadian-style plastic cash with him.

Late last year, the BofE issued a tender notice asking for bidders for a multi-year £1 billion contract to print UK bank notes from 2015.

Asked in an interview with CTV whether Britain could look forward to a "polymer pound", Carney said the bank is "exploring a variety of options for their next currency yes".

Canada has recently dumped cotton paper bank notes in favour of longer lasting plastic but the move has not been universally welcomed.

Asked by CTV whether the notes will always stick together, as they do when new, Carney said: "The whole point of them is they come apart, they last longer, they're cleaner and greener, good value for taxpayers and better for the environment."

It is not only the notes' stickiness which has upset some Canadians though, with people complaining that they do not work in vending machines and even that they can melt, according to the Wall Street Journal.

In the UK paper notes are currently made by De La Rue, which in 2011 lost its largest customer, the Reserve Bank of India, over printing irregularities.

On the plastic-paper debate, the BofE says on its Web site: "The Bank continually looks at the security features of the notes and at methods of production and printing, including the use of plastic.

"We currently consider paper notes as good as any other type of banknote for use in the UK. The feel of the paper is one of the ways of checking whether a note is genuine or not."

Comments: (1)

Ketharaman Swaminathan - GTM360 Marketing Solutions - Pune | 19 February, 2013, 15:30

Not only is plastic not going away from credit cards but it seems to be entering cash as well!

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