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Canada's polymer currency still faces consumer complaints

Several countries across the globe have decided to make the switch from paper currency to polymer cash, one of the most recent being Canada. This can call for businesses and banks to invest in a new cash counter, depending on the age of their current machine, and it can make things a little trickier for consumers. While the $5 and $10 Canadian polymer notes will not be released until November, higher denomination polymer bills are already in circulation and causing some issues for those who rely on cash.

From the very start, many consumers were worried about the change, despite the government's strong support of the new currency. According to the Bank of Canada, the new polymer currency will last at least two and a half times longer than paper notes, limiting the negative impact on the environment and cutting production costs. The high-tech design was also intended to make it more difficult for counterfeiters to accurately forge Canadian currency, thus limiting the risk of consumers and merchants coming across fake bills.

More reports of problems with new money
Despite the benefits, consumers complained about the notes almost immediately. Shoppers had trouble folding the bills and thought they stuck together too easily, making it more likely shoppers could overpay for purchases without realizing it.

But an even bigger problem has emerged now that the currency has been in circulation for several months. Some Canadians have reported their bills have melted when exposed to heat, despite the Bank of Canada's insistence that the notes have been tested to withstand extreme temperatures.

The Wall Street Journal reported on an instance in which a construction worker received a Christmas bonus from his employer and placed the cash in an empty coffee can. When he found the bills the next morning, they were shriveled up, something he claims happened because the bills were too close to the radiator nearby. Other claims of melting currency abound, from shoppers who claim their cash melted after being left in a hot car to people who insist their bills softened after being left under a table lamp.

But as more countries turn to polymer cash instead of traditional paper currency, small kinks may continue to be worked out and pose less of an issue for merchants and their consumers. By investing in up-to-date money counters, retailers can continue to provide the same level of service and ensure their backroom processes are still as efficient as possible.

July 25, 2013