The Bank of England has signed up the country's 10 largest ATM operators to a commitment to increase the number of good quality £5 notes they dispense through their machines.
The fact that few ATMs dispense £5 notes combined with their scarcity means they tend to stay in circulation longer, and change hands more times before they return into the wholesale cash distribution system for fitness sorting.
In a bid to increase the number of fivers in circulation and improve their quality, in 2009 the Bank asked HSBC to stock 100 UK cash machines with them for a trial period.
The pilot was deemed a success and a wider roll out was begun in September, with Andrew Bailey, executive director, banking services and chief cashier, BoE, calling for operators to ensure at least 1.2% of their dispense is in £5s.
The 10 biggest operators have committed to the project and are reconfiguring between 10% and 15% of their ATMs to meet the target, selecting them based on their pattern of usage so they can be stocked with £5s without needing to be refilled any more frequently.
Most ATM operators have also developed new dispense algorithms and some have needed to modify their operating software significantly and to update their forecasting systems. In addition, physical changes are being made to fit £5 cassettes and screens are being redesigned to identify them as fiver dispensing.-
In a speech, Victoria Cleland, head, notes division, at the Bank says there is now expected to be a five-fold increase in the number of fivers dispensed at machines across the country by Easter. Nearly a third of the planned ATM re-configurations have already taken place, with a further third on schedule for completion by the middle of 2011.
This is expected to contribute to a doubling of the amount of £5s acquired by the public this year to £4 billion worth, from £2 billion in 2010.
Says Cleland: "There is no doubt that the public welcome the changes that have taken place so far and over the coming months, the fiver should start to look as familiar - and as smart - as our other denominations."
You can read the speech here:Download the document now 88.1 kb (PDF File)