Innovia's plant in Wigton will manufacture the substrate used to produce the new polymer Fiver (Image: BoE)
The new five-pound note made using polymers enters circulation in the UK today (13th Sept).
The fiver is manufactured in Wigton, Cumbria, using ‘Guardian’ polymer substrate and high-security ‘Clarity C’ film from Innovia.
The use of this combination means that the new banknotes are uniquely identifiable due to an in-built ‘fingerprint’ in the polymer film, making them more secure and more difficult to counterfeit.
“Cleaner, safer, stonger”
In addition to the increased security features, the Bank of England says the note is also “cleaner, safer and stronger”, as well as being more economical to produce.
The note is inherently resistant to dirt and moisture, meaning it will stay in good condition for longer. It is also more robust, meaning it will survive longer than its paper predecessor after repeated folding or scrunching, even after a spin in the washing machine.
Commenting on the benefits of using polymer for the new Fiver, Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England said: “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,” he added.
The next generation of Banknotes
In addition to the new Fiver, which features Sir Winston Churchill on the front, the Bank of England is introducing a polymer £10 featuring Jane Austen in summer 2017, followed by the J.M.W. Turner £20 note by 2020.
The new family of polymer notes will still have tiered sizing, bold numerals and a similar colour palette to the current notes to help blind and visually impaired people tell the difference between them.
Polymer £10 and £20 notes, will also have a tactile feature created by a series of raised dots. People with visual impairments will be able to tell the £5 note apart because it does not have this feature.
Phasing out paper notes
Paper £5 notes will be gradually withdrawn as they are banked by retailers and businesses.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.
“Overwhelmingly positive” reaction
The new note, which features Sir Winston Churchill as part of a design overhaul, was unveiled on 2 June at Blenheim Palace. Since then, 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 overwhelmingly positive.”