Bank of England unveils new notes to challenge counterfeiters
On Tuesday, the Bank of England unveiled the new £5 note, as 440 million new printed notes entered circulation throughout the country. This marks a new age for the bank, which has for the first time, commissioned polymer banknotes.
This is significant for several reasons. Increased durability makes the plastic notes a comparatively environmentally friendly alternative – with a lifespan two and a half times longer than their paper counterparts. Not least of the new improvements, however, are those made to increase security and counterfeiting measures.
Britain joins the ranks of the polymer brigade alongside Singapore, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia, who first adopted the plastic notes in 1998, among others.
The new notes, which feature former Prime Minister Winston Churchill, are said to provide new challenges to counterfeiters, with a hologram imprinted underneath the new illustration of Big Ben. Additionally, the note features a plastic window which houses a pound symbol, and a border adorning its edges. These both change from purple to green, depending on the light. Further innovations to promote authenticity include the imposing of a number ‘5’, which appears on the front of the note when shone under an ultraviolet light.
Counterfeiting has been well controlled throughout Britain in recent years, as the Bank released a report that measured forged bank notes to account for only 0.0075 percent of those currently in circulation. It is hoped that the polymer notes will reduce this number even further.