Tuesday 25 February, 2020

ECCB to debut new polymer notes starting with $50 bill in June

June of this year has been selected as the month when the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) will, for the very first time, put banknotes made out of polymer into circulation.

First into circulation will be a new $50 bill followed by the $100, $20 and $10 bills in August/September of this year and the $5 bill in 2020. This means that the polymer notes and the current paper notes will be co-circulating in the territories of the ECCB, which incidentally is the first Central Bank in the Caribbean to issue an entire family of banknotes in polymer.

According to the ECCB, Canada issued polymer notes in 2011. The Bank of Scotland issued polymer notes in 2016. The Bank of England issued polymer noted in 2016 while Trinidad and Tobago issued a polymer $50 commemorative circulation note in 2014.

Polymer banknotes are produced from a thin, transparent and flexible plastic film made from polypropylene. Key Benefits of Polymer Notes are that it is difficult to counterfeit, they are resistant to water and other liquids, resistant to dirt and moisture.  It is durable, difficult to tear and last longer than paper notes are eco-friendly

The polymer notes are said to be portrait oriented with modernized images and landmarks and unique tactile features on each one of them (for the blind and visually impaired). The notes are also said to have a see-through window with fuchsia/pink flowers, holographic foil strip on the $20, $50 and $100 notes, a new design on $50 bill and a new signature, that of the ECCB’s Governor, Timothy N. J. Antoine.

The polymer $5 note retains all the features of the current note. It depicts the Trafalgar Falls, Dominica and Admiral’s House, Antigua and Barbuda.

The polymer $10 note retains all the features of the current note in that it depicts the Admiralty Bay, St Vincent and the Grenadines and the Warspite, Anguilla.

The polymer $20 note retains all the features of the current note which depicts the Government House Montserrat and the Nutmeg, Grenada.

The polymer $50 note now features the image of the Hon. Sir K Dwight Venner and the Brimstone Hill of St Kitts and Nevis while the Pitons – Saint Lucia are now depicted on the $100 note. The Pitons replaced the image of the ECCB building that was on the $100 note which also retains the image of Sir Arthur Lewis.

The ECCB warns that polymer notes should not be ironed nor should other forms of heat be applied or notes left exposed to hot temperatures for extended periods. Creasing, crumpling, acute folding or stapling of the notes are also to be avoided. The notes can be flattened, crumpled or creased by applying pressure to them or curling them in one’s hand. They could be repaired, if torn, with clear tape and can be used again.

The bank believes that given the store of value of polymer notes, it is highly unlikely they will end up in the environment as a hazard. Further, notes that are no longer fit for circulation will be returned to the ECCB.

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