Monday, November 14, 2011

To Combat Counterfeiting, Canada Issues New C$100 Bill Made of Plastic

Canada released a new C$100 bill made of plastic on Monday (November 14), its first step in replacing an entire series of banknotes to combat counterfeiters and persuade retailers it's safe to accept large bills.

The brown polymer note, identical in size and color to the existing paper C$100 note, is made with the same plastic used by some 32 other countries., yet Canada is the first to add a metallic hologram that is especially difficult to replicate.

COMMENT: The release of the plastic C$100 note comes just eight years after the Bank of Canada released a new series of paper notes that, while an improvement over previous versions, were still too easy to counterfeit.

The issuance of the plastic C$100 note is largely to build confidence amongst merchants in accepting C$100 bills for as recent as 2002, many retailers would post signs in their businesses that they did not accept C$100 notes.

The new polymer bill has a large transparent window from the top to the bottom of the note - the largest such window in modern banknote design - and a holographic image visible from both sides of the bill.

Plastic notes, nearly immune to liquids, stains, tearing or wear-and-tear, were pioneered by the Reserve Bank of Australia in 1988. Blank sheets of the polymer will be made by a unit of the Australia central bank and shipped to Canada, where two Ottawa-based companies will print the notes.

The new C$100 note depicts a portrait of Sir Robert Borden, Canada's prime minister from 1911-1920, on the front, and images of Canadian contributions to medicine on the back.

The issuance of plastic notes will save an estimated C$200 million over the assumed eight-year life of the series because the bills will last about 2.5 times longer than paper banknotes.

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