Is Your Business Polymer Ready?

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Following a three year research programme, the Bank of England has decided its next £5 and £10 bank notes will be printed on Polymer. With the launch of the new £5 note in the second half of 2016, it’s important that all UK businesses that handle cash plan and prepare for this initiative.

Staff will need to be trained to recognise and authenticate the new notes and in particular, cash handling machines will need to be adapted.

Why polymer?

The Bank of England has concluded that polymer notes are cleaner, more secure, and more durable than paper notes. They will provide enhanced counterfeit resilience, and increase the quality of notes in circulation. Polymer notes are also more environmentally friendly and because they last longer are, over time, cheaper than paper notes.

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The cost benefits

The cost benefit analysis has shown that, over a ten-year period, the combined production cost savings of printing the new £5 and £10 notes on polymer rather than paper (including raw materials and printing) will exceed £100 million (a combined cost saving for these denominations of more than 25%).

One of the key assumptions impacting the difference in cost is the decision not to reduce the size of future paper banknotes. Nevertheless, even if the Bank chooses to reduce the size, regardless of substrate, it would still be over £50 million less expensive to print the £5 and £10 notes on polymer rather than paper.

Environmental Impact

Polymer shows benefits over cotton paper for all the main phases of the life cycle. A recent study has shown that polymer banknotes have a lower environmental impact than paper banknotes. Polymer banknotes last at least 2.5 times longer than paper banknotes and this is the main factor leading to their stronger environmental performance. This is mainly due to the reduced environmental burdens associated with raw material production and processing of new banknotes to replace unfit ones. The single area where paper notes have a lower environmental impact than polymer is ozone creation.

The checklist for your business

  • Ensure you know which cash handling machines are being operated by your business
  • Contact the supplier of your machines to discuss what adaptations will be required, and when they will be available
  • Plan for delivery of staff training in 2016 (the Bank of England will be producing a range of materials to support staff training)
  • Keep up-to-date with the latest information about polymer banknotes by registering your interest here

For more information about polymer banknotes please click here.

How can we help?

With the introduction of the new Polymer banknote, businesses will need assurance they can still differentiate between real and counterfeit banknotes. We can provide that assurance. There are many machines that cannot be updated to accommodate polymer notes; however, at OfficeTeam, we stock an extensive range of Safescan counterfeit detectors, banknote counters and money counting scales. Note that Safescan has worked closely with the Bank of England to develop firmware and software updates for existing and new products.

For more information or to view our range of cash handling machines, please speak to your Account Manager or contact us today.

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