Chemical Plastic

November 22, 2011

Canada Making Plastic Bills for People of All Ages


Starting in November, new Canadian polymer bank notes will start to replace paper-cotton bills that wear and tear more easily.

The first bills to go plastic will be the $100 notes. The $50 notes will follow next March. The rest of the plastic money will be in circulation by the end of 2013.

Instead of the normal cotton paper bills, the polymer bills have two see-through windows that make it nearly impossible for amateur counterfeiters to scan or photocopy the banknotes. According to the Bank of Canada, you can “feel, look, and flip” to make sure the bill is real.

The polymer bank notes are more durable than paper money. The Bank of Canada expects the new bills to last 2.5 times longer than the paper ones.

They’re also harder to fake than paper money. Some of the security features built into the new notes include raised ink, hidden numbers and metallic images.

The bills feel smooth and slightly waxy. They don’t crumple easily, but they do crease when you try, and they don’t seem to tear in half.

The new $100s look busier than the paper bills. There are now two portraits of Prime Minister Robert Borden — a large one on the face of the bill and a smaller, metallic one in the clear band running through the note, above an image of Parliament Hill’s Peace Tower.

On the other side of the bill, there’s an image of a researcher at a microscope, a strand of DNA and an electrocardiogram. There’s also a bottle of insulin next to the words “medical innovation.”

Another advantage of the plastic bill is that they don’t curl or fray at the corners. The material causes about 40 percent less jams in automated teller and bill-counting machines, so you’ll never again have to deal with that frustrating experience of having your money spit back at you while you’re trying to buy a soda from the vending machine.

The $50 has an image of CCGS Amundsen — a research icebreaker — and a map of the North. The designs of the $20, $10 and $5 bills will be unveiled later. The colours of the new bills have not changed.

Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney said the notes are necessary to fight counterfeiting. The number of counterfeit bills in circulation peaked in 2004, but has been steadily declining since.” The polymer notes we’re introducing today are unique,” Carney said. “There’s simply no other currency like them.”

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