News & Events

News Hub

Polymer currency use spreads

Technology is changing how consumers, businesses and financial institutions handle money, make and receive payments and invest in currency counters. Around the world, countries are changing up their currency, with initiatives to eliminate pennies, mint higher-value coins and even print polymer money. 

More countries introduce polymer currency 
Polymer cash, known to some as "plastic money" is making waves in nations across the globe. It's been in use in Australia since 1988, and its popularity is slowly spreading, but this growth may be due more to government cost concerns than consumer, business and financial institution preference. Reports indicate polymer notes can last twice as long as traditional paper bills, allowing governments to print fresh cash on a less frequent basis, saving money on replacing old or ruined banknotes. Another concern is counterfeiting - some experts think it will be harder for criminal groups to accurately forge polymer money. 

Canadian consumers first noticed a change in their $100 bills back in November 2011, when the government first introduced polymer cash. The country then began printing smaller bills on the new material and slowly releasing them to the public - the Toronto Sun reported just the $20, $10 and $5 bills have yet to be released, but should be in circulation late this year. This move has already been made in Mexico, Singapore and Brazil and several other countries looking for an alternative to traditional currency materials. 

The problems that come with polymer cash 
While government leaders may think polymer money offers a viable solution to paper cash, consumers readily disagree. Many Canadians have been voicing complaints about the money and its various problems. According to several reports in the Canadian media, many individuals have complained the bills stick together, forcing consumers to double-check they're handing over the correct number of notes. Others have alleged the bills melt in extreme heat, are too hard to fold and are too difficult for businesses and banks to count. 

Even though the use of such bills has been implemented in other countries, it remains to be seen whether such cash will be introduced in the U.S. However, no legislation that would facilitate the switch has yet been seriously considered by lawmakers, making it unlikely Americans will be using polymer cash in the near future. 

April 10, 2013