Retailers Urged to Prepare for Polymer Bank Notes

All retailers that handle cash must prepare their business ahead of the introduction of the new £5 polymer note, which will enter circulation on 13 September 2016. The new bank note will be printed on polymer, which is a thin flexible plastic material. Polymer notes last longer, stay cleaner and are harder to counterfeit than paper notes.

Retailers who handle cash will need to be able to recognise and authenticate the new notes and some cash handling practice may need to be adapted. Retailers should discuss with their cash handling machine suppliers what adaptions will be needed, often a software update will be required.

The Bank of England has provided a range of training materials to help retailers prepare for the transition to polymer, which can be found here: The biggest change for retailers and their staff will be how to authenticate polymer notes. There are a number of new security features on the new £5 note.

Retailers are being advised to:

  • Check the see-through window
  • Check the Elizabeth Tower (Big Ben) is gold on the front and silver on the back
  • Check the foil patch changes from ‘Five’ to ‘Pounds’
  • Check the coronation crown appears 3D
  • Check the ultra-violet feature

The Bank of England have released a short video which explains how to spot the security features here:

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “Any retailer that handles cash must prepare for the transition from paper to polymer bank notes. As well as a design change, there are a number of new security features that retailers and their staff will have to familiarise themselves with. Retailers will also need to plan how they will adapt their cash handling practices, as cash handling machines will need to be adapted to check and count polymer notes. We urge retailers to use the various materials that Bank of England have provided for retailers to help with the transition.”

Bank of England Chief Cashier, Victoria Cleland, said: “It is now just one month until the first Bank of England £5 polymer note enters circulation, on 13 September. This is a really exciting time, and feedback from our Regional Roadshows demonstrates that many of the public are keen to use the cleaner, safer, stronger notes. Retailers have an important role in the introduction of the new notes, and I would encourage them to understand how to use the sophisticated new security features that deliver a leap forward in counterfeit resilience.”

The new £5 note is the first banknote to transition to polymer. This will be followed by a new £10 polymer note that will be issued in summer 2017, followed by the new £20 polymer note by 2020. The paper £5 note will be withdrawn from circulation in May 2017. For more information, visit

This entry was posted by Chris on Mon, 15/08/2016 - 11:25