The Bank of England’s first polymer note – the New Fiver featuring Sir Winston Churchill – enters circulation today, Tuesday 13 September.
The New Fiver is cleaner, safer and stronger. The introduction of polymer banknotes allows for a new
generation of security features which make it even harder to counterfeit. The note is also resistant to dirt and moisture and so remains in better condition for longer. The strength of the polymer material means that The New Fiver is expected to last at least 2.5 times longer – around 5 years.
Commenting on the introduction of The New Fiver, the Governor said:
“The New Fiver commemorates one of the greatest statesmen of all time, Winston Churchill, who remarked that ‘a nation that forgets its past has no future’. Banknotes are repositories of the United Kingdom’s collective memory, and we will be reminded of Churchill’s enormous contributions as he once again becomes part of our daily lives as the New Fiver flows out into tills and pockets.
The New Fiver, made of polymer, will be cleaner, safer and stronger. Resistant to dirt and moisture, it will stay in good condition for longer. The new security features make it harder to counterfeit. While the use of polymer means it can better withstand being repeatedly folded into wallets or scrunched up inside pockets and can also survive a spin in the washing machine. We expect polymer notes to last at least two-and-a-half times longer than the current generation of fivers and therefore reduce future costs of production.”
Following the unveil of the note on 2 June at Blenheim Palace, Bank staff have travelled around the UK to show The New Fiver to the public and engage with retailers. Victoria Cleland, Chief Cashier of the Bank of England said: “The regional roadshows have been a fantastic way to share the new note with the public and retailers. The reaction has been overwhelming positive, and I have been struck by their enthusiasm to start using the notes.”
The Bank of England has printed 440 million New Fivers ready for issue and they will begin to be available from many cash machines and bank counters across the UK from today. Members of the public can expect to see a new note over the coming days and weeks.
Paper £5 notes will be gradually withdrawn from circulation as they are banked by retailers and businesses.
The public can continue to spend paper £5 notes as usual until 5 May 2017 after which they will cease to be legal tender. Following this, paper £5 notes will still be exchanged at the Bank of England. The new polymer £10 featuring Jane Austen will enter circulation in summer 2017 followed by the J.M.W. Turner £20 note by 2020.
Ms Cleland added: “The Bank has been working with the cash industry throughout this important and
exciting project and we’re grateful for their efforts in making the introduction of The New Fiver a success. We will continue to work with them throughout the transition and are looking forward to the introduction of the Jane Austen £10 note next summer.”
To help blind and vision impaired people distinguish between denominations the notes retain tiered sizing and include bold numerals and similar colour palettes to the current notes. In addition, polymer £10 and £20 notes will each have a tactile feature created by a series of raised dots, and the £5 note will be distinguishable by the absence of a feature.
Further details about The New Fiver can be found on www.thenewfiver.co.uk
(Source: Bank of England)