The New Fiver
A newly-printed batch of the new five pound notes
The Governor of the Bank of England has officially unveiled the design of the new plastic £5 note and says it “exploits the possibilities of polymers” within its range of unique features.
Speaking at the launch of The New Fiver today, Mark Carney said these features include the ability to use see-through panels, coloured foils and detailed metallic images to produce a note that Cairney said is “cleaner, safer and stronger” than its paper counterparts.
Polymer marks a major innovation,” Cairney said. “It is resistant to dirt and moisture, so the note won’t wear out as quickly as the current fivers but will stay in good condition for longer.
“It is stronger than paper and can better withstand being repeatedly folded into wallets or scrunched up inside pockets. Polymer notes can survive a splash of Claret, a flick of cigar ash, the nip of a bulldog, and even a spin in the washing machine afterwards to boot,” Cairney added.
It is thought the new notes, which are recyclable at end-of-life, will last 2.5 times longer than paper notes – approximately five years - generating cost savings over time and meaning fewer need to be printed.
Safe and secure
The introduction of polymer banknotes allows for a new generation of security features, which make it even harder to counterfeit. These include:
- A see-through window featuring the Queen’s portrait. The border of the window changes from purple to green.
- The Elizabeth Tower (Big Ben) shown in gold foil on the front of the note and silver on the back.
- A hologram which contains the word ‘Five’ and changes to ‘Pounds’ when the note is tilted.
- A hologram of the coronation crown which appears 3D and multi-coloured when the note is tilted.
- A green foil hologram of the maze at Blenheim Palace, Churchill’s birthplace and ancestral home.
- Micro-lettering beneath the Queen’s portrait with tiny letters and numbers that are visible under a microscope.
- The words ‘Bank of England’ printed in intaglio (raised ink) along the top of the note.
To help people with visual impairments distinguish between denominations, the notes will still have 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 this feature.
Withdrawal of paper £5 notes
The New Fiver, which features Sir Winston Churchill, will be issued on 13 September. After this date paper £5 notes will be gradually withdrawn from circulation as they are banked by retailers and businesses.
Paper £5 notes can be spent as usual until May 2017, after which they will cease to be legal tender. Following this, paper £5 notes can 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.