In an effort to make some of their banknotes more durable and counterfeit proof, the Bank of England is considering the introduction of polymer banknotes.
The £5 banknote is the most likely candidate to be switched first as it is the lowest denomination and therefore the most frequently used, however the Bank has also said they would conduct test runs with £50 banknotes as well because they are the most frequently counterfeited.
Polymer banknotes are considered to be more durable than cotton-based notes, and provide unique opportunities for embedded security features.
“The Bank is look at ways of putting a see-through transparent window on [the new] notes as a primary security feature,” reported The Independent.
The decision to switch those notes to polymer hasn’t been set in stone. The Independent reports that a source close to the Bank said this project was still in “the evaluation stage” and that “a decision won’t be made for the next year or two.” If the plan goes ahead, the first polymer £5 banknotes could make their way into circulation by as early at 2013.
This isn’t the first recommendation the Bank of England has issued with regard to the £5 banknote. Last year, the Bank moved – at the request of merchants and consumers – to increase the amount of £5 banknote in circulation since they are the most frequently used bill in Britain. Since then, the Bank has churned out an extra 400 million £5 notes.