New polymer £5 – implications for your business

A new polymer £5 note was issued in the UK on 13 September 2016. A new £10 note will be issued in summer 2017 and a £20 note by 2020.  Over 30 countries around the world currently use polymer banknotes, including Australia, Canada and Mexico.

As with any change in banknote design, all businesses that handle cash will need to plan and prepare for the introduction of the new notes.

You can continue to spend paper £5 notes as usual until 5 May 2017. After this they will cease to be legal tender.

Further information on the move to polymer banknotes is available here and from www.thenewfiver.co.uk.

Adapting cash handling machines

Cash handling machines will need to be adapted for the new notes.  Ensure you know which cash handling machines are being operated by your business. These machines include self-service check-outs, ATMs, ticket machines, and any other machine that weighs, counts, sorts, accepts, dispenses or recycles banknotes.

Adaptation is likely to require a software update, which is normal practice when a new banknote design is issued.  Additional hardware upgrades may be required for some machines because of the change to a polymer substrate and the reduction in size of the notes.

Any businesses that use cash handling machines should engage directly with their manufacturer to discuss what adaptations will be required.  Before purchasing a new machine, businesses should ask if it is compatible with the new banknotes.

Training for staff who handle cash

Staff who handle cash will need to be able to recognise and authenticate the new notes.
A range of training materials for retailers and businesses are available from the Bank of England website.

Please speak to your A-Plan branch for further advice on how your business might be impacted and any risk implications.

Timeline
2016
Businesses adapt machines for the polymer £5 note
Full design and security features unveiled on 2 June
Businesses train staff to recognise and authenticate the new £5 notes
New polymer £5 note issued on 13 September
New polymer £5 notes issued by the three Scottish issuing banks: Bank of Scotland, Clydesdale, RBS

2017
New £1 coin issued by the Royal Mint in March
Businesses adapt machines for the polymer £10 note
Withdrawal of paper £5 note from circulation on 5 May
New polymer £10 note issued in the summer

By 2020
Withdrawal of paper £10 note from circulation before new polymer £20 note is issued

Sources: www.thenewfiver.co.uk; www.bankofengland.co.uk