Plastic Surgery: First Polymer $100 Bill Goes into Circulation

  • Canada distributed the first of its new plastic money (polymer banknotes) in the form of $100 bills last week. A similar $50 bill will be available in four months and more plastic money is expected by the end of 2013.
  • “There’s no other currency like it anywhere in the world,” said Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney.
  • The new bills are said to last at least 2.5 times longer than traditional paper money and will eventually be recycled when taken out of circulation. They are more durable, less likely to tear or crumple, and can be run through the clothes washer.
  • However, the main objective is to avoid counterfeiting. Featuring a transparent window with double-sided holograph and hidden text, each bill contains a “unique combination of transparency, holography and other sophisticated security elements,” explained Carney.
  • He further noted that many people still use cash over credit or debit for transactions, suggesting: “Our research shows that cash is used for more than half of all shopping transactions and Canadians, as a consequence, need a currency that they can trust.”
  • The article includes a video featuring Canadian news reports about the design and production of the polymer bills.