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Polymer banknote

Polymer banknote

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Polymer banknotes were developed by the Reserve Bank of Australia
Reserve Bank of Australia
The Reserve Bank of Australia came into being on 14 January 1960 as Australia's central bank and banknote issuing authority, when the Reserve Bank Act 1959 removed the central banking functions from the Commonwealth Bank to it....

 (RBA), Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation
The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation is the national government body for scientific research in Australia...

 (CSIRO) and The University of Melbourne and were first issued as currency
Currency
In economics, currency refers to a generally accepted medium of exchange. These are usually the coins and banknotes of a particular government, which comprise the physical aspects of a nation's money supply...

 in Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

 in 1988. These banknote
Banknote
A banknote is a kind of negotiable instrument, a promissory note made by a bank payable to the bearer on demand, used as money, and in many jurisdictions is legal tender. In addition to coins, banknotes make up the cash or bearer forms of all modern fiat money...

s are made from the polymer
Polymer
A polymer is a large molecule composed of repeating structural units. These subunits are typically connected by covalent chemical bonds...

 biaxially-oriented polypropylene (BOPP) which greatly enhances durability of the banknotes. Polymer banknotes also incorporate many security features not available to paper
Paper
Paper is a thin material mainly used for writing upon, printing upon, drawing or for packaging. It is produced by pressing together moist fibers, typically cellulose pulp derived from wood, rags or grasses, and drying them into flexible sheets....

 banknotes, making counterfeiting much more difficult.

Trading as Securency, the RBA together with Innovia Films market BOPP as 'Guardian' for countries with their own banknote printing facilities. Note Printing Australia
Note Printing Australia
Note Printing Australia , which is located in Craigieburn, Melbourne, is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Reserve Bank of Australia and was corporatised in July 1998. NPA has its origins as a subsidiary of the Commonwealth Bank and was established in 1913 to print banknotes for Australia...

 (a subsidiary of the RBA) prints commemorative banknotes and banknotes for circulation and has done so for 20 countries.

An alternative polymer of polyethylene
Polyethylene
Polyethylene or polythene is the most widely used plastic, with an annual production of approximately 80 million metric tons...

 fibres marketed as Tyvek
Tyvek
Tyvek is a brand of flashspun high-density polyethylene fibers, a synthetic material; the name is a registered trademark of DuPont. The material is very strong; it is difficult to tear but can easily be cut with scissors or a knife...

 by DuPont
DuPont
E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company , commonly referred to as DuPont, is an American chemical company that was founded in July 1802 as a gunpowder mill by Eleuthère Irénée du Pont. DuPont was the world's third largest chemical company based on market capitalization and ninth based on revenue in 2009...

 was developed for use as currency by the American Bank Note Company
American Bank Note Company
The American Bank Note Company was a major worldwide engraver of national currency and postage stamps. Currently it engraves and prints stock and bond certificates.-History:Robert Scot, the first official engraver of the young U.S...

 in the early 1980s. Tyvek did not perform well in trials; smudging of ink and fragility were reported as problems. Only Costa Rica
Costa Rica
Costa Rica , officially the Republic of Costa Rica is a multilingual, multiethnic and multicultural country in Central America, bordered by Nicaragua to the north, Panama to the southeast, the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Caribbean Sea to the east....

 and Haiti
Haiti
Haiti , officially the Republic of Haiti , is a Caribbean country. It occupies the western, smaller portion of the island of Hispaniola, in the Greater Antillean archipelago, which it shares with the Dominican Republic. Ayiti was the indigenous Taíno or Amerindian name for the island...

 issued Tyvek banknotes; test notes were produced for Ecuador
Ecuador
Ecuador , officially the Republic of Ecuador is a representative democratic republic in South America, bordered by Colombia on the north, Peru on the east and south, and by the Pacific Ocean to the west. It is one of only two countries in South America, along with Chile, that do not have a border...

, El Salvador
El Salvador
El Salvador or simply Salvador is the smallest and the most densely populated country in Central America. The country's capital city and largest city is San Salvador; Santa Ana and San Miguel are also important cultural and commercial centers in the country and in all of Central America...

, Honduras
Honduras
Honduras is a republic in Central America. It was previously known as Spanish Honduras to differentiate it from British Honduras, which became the modern-day state of Belize...

 and Venezuela
Venezuela
Venezuela , officially called the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela , is a tropical country on the northern coast of South America. It borders Colombia to the west, Guyana to the east, and Brazil to the south...

 but never placed in circulation. Additionally, English printers Bradbury Wilkinson
Bradbury Wilkinson
Bradbury Wilkinson & Co were an English engraver and printer of banknotes, postage stamps and share certificates. The original company was begun in 1856 by Henry Bradbury . In 1861 the company was established at New Malden in Surrey where it remained until the 1986 when it was acquired by De La Rue...

 produced a version on Tyvek
Tyvek
Tyvek is a brand of flashspun high-density polyethylene fibers, a synthetic material; the name is a registered trademark of DuPont. The material is very strong; it is difficult to tear but can easily be cut with scissors or a knife...

 but marketed as Bradvek
Bradvek
Bradvek was a form of Tyvek polymer, produced by Du Pont. It was used for printing one of the first polymer banknotes in 1983 for the Isle of Man by the American Banknote Company....

 for the Isle of Man
Isle of Man
The Isle of Man , otherwise known simply as Mann , is a self-governing British Crown Dependency, located in the Irish Sea between the islands of Great Britain and Ireland, within the British Isles. The head of state is Queen Elizabeth II, who holds the title of Lord of Mann. The Lord of Mann is...

 in 1983; however, they are no longer produced and have become collectors'
Numismatics
Numismatics is the study or collection of currency, including coins, tokens, paper money, and related objects. While numismatists are often characterized as students or collectors of coins, the discipline also includes the broader study of money and other payment media used to resolve debts and the...

 items.

Development of polymer banknotes




Polymer banknotes were developed to increase the security of Australia's paper currency against counterfeiting. In 1967 forgeries of the Australian $10 note were found in circulation and the RBA was concerned about an increase in counterfeiting with the release of colour photocopiers that year. In 1968 the RBA started collaborations with the CSIRO and funds were made available in 1969 for the experimental production of distinctive papers.

The insertion of an optically variable device (OVD) created from diffraction grating
Diffraction grating
In optics, a diffraction grating is an optical component with a periodic structure, which splits and diffracts light into several beams travelling in different directions. The directions of these beams depend on the spacing of the grating and the wavelength of the light so that the grating acts as...

s in plastic as a security device inserted in banknotes was proposed in 1972. The first patent
Patent
A patent is a form of intellectual property. It consists of a set of exclusive rights granted by a sovereign state to an inventor or their assignee for a limited period of time in exchange for the public disclosure of an invention....

 arising from the development of polymer banknotes was filed in 1973. In 1974 the technique of lamination
Laminate
A laminate is a material that can be constructed by uniting two or more layers of material together. The process of creating a laminate is lamination, which in common parlance refers to the placing of something between layers of plastic and gluing them with heat and/or pressure, usually with an...

 was used to combine materials; the all-plastic laminate eventually chosen was a clear, BOPP laminate, in which OVDs could be inserted without needing to punch holes. The BOPP substrate is processed through the following steps:
  • Opacifying - two layers of ink (usually white) are applied to each side of the note, except for an area(s) deliberately left clear for creating an OVD;
  • Sheeting - the substrate is cut into sheets suitable for the printing press;
  • Printing - traditional offset
    Offset printing
    Offset printing is a commonly used printing technique in which the inked image is transferred from a plate to a rubber blanket, then to the printing surface...

    , intaglio
    Intaglio (printmaking)
    Intaglio is a family of printmaking techniques in which the image is incised into a surface, known as the matrix or plate, and the incised line or area holds the ink. Normally, copper or zinc plates are used as a surface, and the incisions are created by etching, engraving, drypoint, aquatint or...

     and letterpress
    Letterpress printing
    Letterpress printing is relief printing of text and image using a press with a "type-high bed" printing press and movable type, in which a reversed, raised surface is inked and then pressed into a sheet of paper to obtain a positive right-reading image...

     printing
    Printing
    Printing is a process for reproducing text and image, typically with ink on paper using a printing press. It is often carried out as a large-scale industrial process, and is an essential part of publishing and transaction printing....

     processes are used; and
  • Overcoating - notes are coated with a protective varnish
    Varnish
    Varnish is a transparent, hard, protective finish or film primarily used in wood finishing but also for other materials. Varnish is traditionally a combination of a drying oil, a resin, and a thinner or solvent. Varnish finishes are usually glossy but may be designed to produce satin or semi-gloss...

    .


BOPP is a non-fibrous and non-porous polymer. Compared to paper banknotes, banknotes made using BOPP are more durable, harder to tear, more resistant to folding, more resistant to soil, waterproof (and washing machine
Washing machine
A washing machine is a machine designed to wash laundry, such as clothing, towels and sheets...

 proof), easier to machine process, and are shreddable and recyclable at the end of their useful lives.

Security features



The traditional printed security features applied on paper can also be applied on polymer. These features include intaglio, offset and letterpress printing, latent images, micro-printing
Microprinting
Microprinting is one of many anti-counterfeiting techniques used most often on currency and bank checks, as well as various other items of value. Microprinting involves printing very small text, usually too small to read with the naked eye, onto the note or item. Microprint is frequently hidden in...

, and intricate background patterns. Polymer notes can be different colours on the obverse and reverse sides.
Like paper currency, polymer banknotes can incorporate a watermark
Watermark
A watermark is a recognizable image or pattern in paper that appears as various shades of lightness/darkness when viewed by transmitted light , caused by thickness or density variations in the paper...

 (an optically variable 'shadow image') in the polymer substrate. Shadow images can be created by the application of Optically Variable Ink (OVI) enhancing its fidelity and colour shift characteristics. Security thread
Security thread
A security thread is a security feature of many bank notes to protect against counterfeiting, consisting of a thin ribbon that is threaded through the note's paper....

s can also be embedded in the polymer note; they may be magnetic
Magnetic ink character recognition
Magnetic Ink Character Recognition, or MICR, is a character recognition technology used primarily by the banking industry to facilitate the processing of cheques and makes up the routing number and account number at the bottom of a check. The technology allows computers to read information off...

, fluorescent
Fluorescence
Fluorescence is the emission of light by a substance that has absorbed light or other electromagnetic radiation of a different wavelength. It is a form of luminescence. In most cases, emitted light has a longer wavelength, and therefore lower energy, than the absorbed radiation...

, phosphorescent
Phosphorescence
Phosphorescence is a specific type of photoluminescence related to fluorescence. Unlike fluorescence, a phosphorescent material does not immediately re-emit the radiation it absorbs. The slower time scales of the re-emission are associated with "forbidden" energy state transitions in quantum...

, microprinted
Microprinting
Microprinting is one of many anti-counterfeiting techniques used most often on currency and bank checks, as well as various other items of value. Microprinting involves printing very small text, usually too small to read with the naked eye, onto the note or item. Microprint is frequently hidden in...

, clear text, as well as windowed.
Like paper, the polymer can also be embossed.

Polymer notes also enabled new security features unavailable at the time on paper, such as transparent windows, and diffraction grating
Diffraction grating
In optics, a diffraction grating is an optical component with a periodic structure, which splits and diffracts light into several beams travelling in different directions. The directions of these beams depend on the spacing of the grating and the wavelength of the light so that the grating acts as...

. Since 2006 however the development of the paper transparent window technologies by De La Rue
De La Rue
De La Rue plc is a British security printing, papermaking and cash handling systems company headquartered in Basingstoke, Hampshire. It also has a factory on the Team Valley Trading Estate, Gateshead, and other facilities at Loughton, Essex and Bathford, Somerset...

 (Optiks) and G&D (Verify) have reduced that advantage.

The transparent window where the OVD is located is a key security feature of the polymer banknote. It is easily identifiable allowing anyone to be able to authenticate a banknote.

Because the polymer bank note contains many security features that cannot be successfully reproduced by photocopying or scanning
Image scanner
In computing, an image scanner—often abbreviated to just scanner—is a device that optically scans images, printed text, handwriting, or an object, and converts it to a digital image. Common examples found in offices are variations of the desktop scanner where the document is placed on a glass...

, it is very difficult to counterfeit. The complexities of counterfeiting polymer banknotes are proposed to act as a deterrent to counterfeiters.

Adoption of polymer banknotes


As of 2011, at least seven countries have converted fully to polymer banknotes: Australia
Australian dollar
The Australian dollar is the currency of the Commonwealth of Australia, including Christmas Island, Cocos Islands, and Norfolk Island, as well as the independent Pacific Island states of Kiribati, Nauru and Tuvalu...

, Bermuda, Brunei
Brunei dollar
The ringgit Brunei or the Brunei dollar , has been the currency of the Sultanate of Brunei since 1967...

, New Zealand
New Zealand dollar
The New Zealand dollar is the currency of New Zealand. It also circulates in the Cook Islands , Niue, Tokelau, and the Pitcairn Islands. It is divided into 100 cents....

, Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinean kina
The kina is the currency of Papua New Guinea. It is divided in 100 toea. The kina was introduced on 19 April 1975, replacing the Australian dollar at par...

, Romania
Romanian leu
The leu is the currency of Romania. It is subdivided into 100 bani . The name of the currency means "lion". On 1 July 2005, Romania underwent a currency reform, switching from the previous leu to a new leu . 1 RON is equal to 10,000 ROL...

 and Vietnam. Other countries and regions with notes printed on Guardian polymer in circulation include: Bangladesh
Bangladesh
Bangladesh , officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh is a sovereign state located in South Asia. It is bordered by India on all sides except for a small border with Burma to the far southeast and by the Bay of Bengal to the south...

, Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

, Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

, Chile
Chile
Chile ,officially the Republic of Chile , is a country in South America occupying a long, narrow coastal strip between the Andes mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far...

, Dominican Republic
Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic is a nation on the island of La Hispaniola, part of the Greater Antilles archipelago in the Caribbean region. The western third of the island is occupied by the nation of Haiti, making Hispaniola one of two Caribbean islands that are shared by two countries...

, Hong Kong
Hong Kong
Hong Kong is one of two Special Administrative Regions of the People's Republic of China , the other being Macau. A city-state situated on China's south coast and enclosed by the Pearl River Delta and South China Sea, it is renowned for its expansive skyline and deep natural harbour...

 (for a 2-year trial), Indonesia
Indonesia
Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...

, Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

, Malaysia
Malaysian ringgit
The Malaysian ringgit is the currency of Malaysia. It is divided into 100 sen...

, Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

, Nepal
Nepal
Nepal , officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, is a landlocked sovereign state located in South Asia. It is located in the Himalayas and bordered to the north by the People's Republic of China, and to the south, east, and west by the Republic of India...

, Solomon Islands
Solomon Islands
Solomon Islands is a sovereign state in Oceania, east of Papua New Guinea, consisting of nearly one thousand islands. It covers a land mass of . The capital, Honiara, is located on the island of Guadalcanal...

 (no longer issued), Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka is a country off the southern coast of the Indian subcontinent. Known until 1972 as Ceylon , Sri Lanka is an island surrounded by the Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait, and lies in the vicinity of India and the...

, Thailand
Thailand
Thailand , officially the Kingdom of Thailand , formerly known as Siam , is a country located at the centre of the Indochina peninsula and Southeast Asia. It is bordered to the north by Burma and Laos, to the east by Laos and Cambodia, to the south by the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia, and to the...

, Samoa
Samoa
Samoa , officially the Independent State of Samoa, formerly known as Western Samoa is a country encompassing the western part of the Samoan Islands in the South Pacific Ocean. It became independent from New Zealand in 1962. The two main islands of Samoa are Upolu and one of the biggest islands in...

, Singapore
Singapore dollar
The Singapore dollar or Dollar is the official currency of Singapore. It is normally abbreviated with the dollar sign $, or alternatively S$ to distinguish it from other dollar-denominated currencies...

 and Zambia
Zambia
Zambia , officially the Republic of Zambia, is a landlocked country in Southern Africa. The neighbouring countries are the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the north, Tanzania to the north-east, Malawi to the east, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia to the south, and Angola to the west....

.
Canada released its first polymer bill ($100) on November 14th 2011.
Countries and regions that have issued commemorative banknotes (which are not in circulation) on Guardian polymer include: China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

, Taiwan
Taiwan
Taiwan , also known, especially in the past, as Formosa , is the largest island of the same-named island group of East Asia in the western Pacific Ocean and located off the southeastern coast of mainland China. The island forms over 99% of the current territory of the Republic of China following...

, Kuwait
Kuwait
The State of Kuwait is a sovereign Arab state situated in the north-east of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the south at Khafji, and Iraq to the north at Basra. It lies on the north-western shore of the Persian Gulf. The name Kuwait is derived from the...

, Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is one of the four countries of the United Kingdom. Situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, it shares a border with the Republic of Ireland to the south and west...

and Singapore
Singapore
Singapore , officially the Republic of Singapore, is a Southeast Asian city-state off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, north of the equator. An island country made up of 63 islands, it is separated from Malaysia by the Straits of Johor to its north and from Indonesia's Riau Islands by the...

.

Timeline of adoptions and withdrawals

  • In 1982 and 1983, the American Bank Note Company
    American Bank Note Company
    The American Bank Note Company was a major worldwide engraver of national currency and postage stamps. Currently it engraves and prints stock and bond certificates.-History:Robert Scot, the first official engraver of the young U.S...

     printed banknotes for Costa Rica
    Costa Rica
    Costa Rica , officially the Republic of Costa Rica is a multilingual, multiethnic and multicultural country in Central America, bordered by Nicaragua to the north, Panama to the southeast, the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Caribbean Sea to the east....

     (20 colones dated 1983 and trial notes of 100 colones) and Haiti
    Haiti
    Haiti , officially the Republic of Haiti , is a Caribbean country. It occupies the western, smaller portion of the island of Hispaniola, in the Greater Antillean archipelago, which it shares with the Dominican Republic. Ayiti was the indigenous Taíno or Amerindian name for the island...

     (1, 2, 50, 100, 250 and 500 Gourdes, on DuPont
    DuPont
    E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company , commonly referred to as DuPont, is an American chemical company that was founded in July 1802 as a gunpowder mill by Eleuthère Irénée du Pont. DuPont was the world's third largest chemical company based on market capitalization and ninth based on revenue in 2009...

    's Tyvek
    Tyvek
    Tyvek is a brand of flashspun high-density polyethylene fibers, a synthetic material; the name is a registered trademark of DuPont. The material is very strong; it is difficult to tear but can easily be cut with scissors or a knife...

     polymers. These had fairly limited release, but did circulate in each country. Additional trial and specimen banknotes were developed for Honduras
    Honduras
    Honduras is a republic in Central America. It was previously known as Spanish Honduras to differentiate it from British Honduras, which became the modern-day state of Belize...

    , Ecuador
    Ecuador
    Ecuador , officially the Republic of Ecuador is a representative democratic republic in South America, bordered by Colombia on the north, Peru on the east and south, and by the Pacific Ocean to the west. It is one of only two countries in South America, along with Chile, that do not have a border...

     and El Salvador
    El Salvador
    El Salvador or simply Salvador is the smallest and the most densely populated country in Central America. The country's capital city and largest city is San Salvador; Santa Ana and San Miguel are also important cultural and commercial centers in the country and in all of Central America...

    . Unfortunately, in tropical climates, ink did not bind well to the polymer and the notes began smearing quite badly.

  • In 1983, the British printers Bradbury Wilkinson
    Bradbury Wilkinson
    Bradbury Wilkinson & Co were an English engraver and printer of banknotes, postage stamps and share certificates. The original company was begun in 1856 by Henry Bradbury . In 1861 the company was established at New Malden in Surrey where it remained until the 1986 when it was acquired by De La Rue...

     produced a promotional version of polymer banknotes which were marketed as Bradvek
    Bradvek
    Bradvek was a form of Tyvek polymer, produced by Du Pont. It was used for printing one of the first polymer banknotes in 1983 for the Isle of Man by the American Banknote Company....

    . The Isle of Man
    Isle of Man
    The Isle of Man , otherwise known simply as Mann , is a self-governing British Crown Dependency, located in the Irish Sea between the islands of Great Britain and Ireland, within the British Isles. The head of state is Queen Elizabeth II, who holds the title of Lord of Mann. The Lord of Mann is...

     issued a 1 pound Bradvek banknote which circulated from 1983 to 1988. Another British printer, Harrison and Sons Limited also produced a promotional banknote, but did not have any buyers.

  • In 1988, Australia
    Australia
    Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

     issued a commemorative 10-dollar banknote, the first of many issues.

  • In 1990, Western Samoa, later renamed Samoa
    Samoa
    Samoa , officially the Independent State of Samoa, formerly known as Western Samoa is a country encompassing the western part of the Samoan Islands in the South Pacific Ocean. It became independent from New Zealand in 1962. The two main islands of Samoa are Upolu and one of the biggest islands in...

     issued a 2 Tala commemorative banknote honouring 50 years of service by His Highness Malietoa Tanumafili II. This banknote was placed in circulation and has the distinction of having the longest period of circulation, as of 2006 it had been circulating for 16 years, and has been reprinted with minor variations at least 7 times.

  • In August 1990, Singapore
    Singapore
    Singapore , officially the Republic of Singapore, is a Southeast Asian city-state off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, north of the equator. An island country made up of 63 islands, it is separated from Malaysia by the Straits of Johor to its north and from Indonesia's Riau Islands by the...

     issued a $50 commemorative banknote, and in 2004 issued its first circulating $10 banknote, followed by a $2 issue in 2006. The $5 banknote and the commemorative $20 banknote was issued in 2007.

  • In June 1991, Papua New Guinea
    Papua New Guinea
    Papua New Guinea , officially the Independent State of Papua New Guinea, is a country in Oceania, occupying the eastern half of the island of New Guinea and numerous offshore islands...

     issued a commemorative 2 Kina banknote, its first polymer issue.

  • In 1992, Australia
    Australia
    Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

     began issuing polymer notes for general circulation.

  • In February 1993, Kuwait
    Kuwait
    The State of Kuwait is a sovereign Arab state situated in the north-east of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the south at Khafji, and Iraq to the north at Basra. It lies on the north-western shore of the Persian Gulf. The name Kuwait is derived from the...

     issued the first of its commemorative banknotes, a 1 Dinar issue honouring the liberation of Kuwait during the First Gulf War
    Gulf War
    The Persian Gulf War , commonly referred to as simply the Gulf War, was a war waged by a U.N.-authorized coalition force from 34 nations led by the United States, against Iraq in response to Iraq's invasion and annexation of Kuwait.The war is also known under other names, such as the First Gulf...

    .

  • In 1993, Indonesia
    Indonesia
    Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...

     issued its first polymer banknote, the 50,000 rupiah note commemorating 25 years of development. A paper equivalent was also available at the same time.

  • In 1996, Australia
    Australia
    Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

     became the first country with a full set of circulating polymer banknotes in each denomination, from 5 to 100 dollars.



  • In 1996, Thailand
    Thailand
    Thailand , officially the Kingdom of Thailand , formerly known as Siam , is a country located at the centre of the Indochina peninsula and Southeast Asia. It is bordered to the north by Burma and Laos, to the east by Laos and Cambodia, to the south by the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia, and to the...

     issued both a 50 and a 500 baht note commemorating the 50th anniversary of the reign of Bhumibol Adulyadej
    Bhumibol Adulyadej
    Bhumibol Adulyadej is the current King of Thailand. He is known as Rama IX...

    .

  • In February 1996, Brunei
    Brunei
    Brunei , officially the State of Brunei Darussalam or the Nation of Brunei, the Abode of Peace , is a sovereign state located on the north coast of the island of Borneo, in Southeast Asia...

     issued 1, 5 and 10 ringgit banknotes. These were the first non-commemorative banknotes issued outside of Australia (and the 1982 issues).

  • In 1997, Thailand
    Thailand
    Thailand , officially the Kingdom of Thailand , formerly known as Siam , is a country located at the centre of the Indochina peninsula and Southeast Asia. It is bordered to the north by Burma and Laos, to the east by Laos and Cambodia, to the south by the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia, and to the...

     issued a 50 baht note as its first polymer note for general circulation.

  • In February 1998, Sri Lanka
    Sri Lanka
    Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka is a country off the southern coast of the Indian subcontinent. Known until 1972 as Ceylon , Sri Lanka is an island surrounded by the Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait, and lies in the vicinity of India and the...

     issued a 200 Rupee commemorative polymer banknote.

  • In 1998, Malaysia issued a commemorative banknote in conjunction with the XVI Commonwealth Games
    1998 Commonwealth Games
    The 1998 XVI Commonwealth Games were held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from 11 September to 21 September 1998 making it the first Asian country to act as host and the last Commonwealth Games for the 20th century. A record 70 nations supplied 3638 athletes...

    ; it issued a 5 ringgit circulating banknote in 2004.

  • On 3 May 1999, New Zealand
    New Zealand
    New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

     released the polymer $20 note. The Reserve Bank of New Zealand switched all of its notes to polymer in the following twelve months: with the $100 note on 26 July, the $5 and $10 note simultaneously on 18 October, and finally the $50 note on 20 March 2000.



  • In 1999, Romania
    Romania
    Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe, on the Lower Danube, within and outside the Carpathian arch, bordering on the Black Sea...

     was the first European country to introduce a full set of circulating polymer banknotes (the banknotes were issued between 1999 and 2001).These included the commemorative 2000 lei note
    Two thousand lei (Romanian banknote)
    In celebration of the total solar eclipse of August 11, 1999, the National Bank of Romania decided to issue a commemorative two thousand Romanian lei banknote. This was the last solar eclipse of the millennium and was visible across southern Romania. Since it was the last eclipse of the...

     which was issued to celebrate the last eclipse of the millinneum.

  • In 1999, Indonesia
    Indonesia
    Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...

     issued its first polymer banknote for general circulation, the 100,000 rupiah note.

  • In June 1999, Taiwan
    Taiwan
    Taiwan , also known, especially in the past, as Formosa , is the largest island of the same-named island group of East Asia in the western Pacific Ocean and located off the southeastern coast of mainland China. The island forms over 99% of the current territory of the Republic of China following...

     issued a 50-dollar
    New Taiwan dollar
    The New Taiwan dollar , or simply Taiwan dollar, is the official currency of the Taiwan Area of the Republic of China since 1949, when it replaced the Old Taiwan dollar...

     note to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the issuance of the New Taiwan dollar
    New Taiwan dollar
    The New Taiwan dollar , or simply Taiwan dollar, is the official currency of the Taiwan Area of the Republic of China since 1949, when it replaced the Old Taiwan dollar...

    .

  • In 1999, the Northern Bank
    Northern Bank
    Northern Bank , is a commercial bank in Northern Ireland. It is one of the oldest banks in Ireland having been formed in 1809. Northern Bank is considered one of the leading retail banks in Northern Ireland with 82 branches and four finance centres...

    , one of five banknote-issuing authorities in Northern Ireland
    Northern Ireland
    Northern Ireland is one of the four countries of the United Kingdom. Situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, it shares a border with the Republic of Ireland to the south and west...

     issued a 5-pound commemorative note celebrating the year 2000; this note was placed in circulation, and was also sold at a premium to collectors with a Y2K serial number prefix.

  • In April 2000, Brazil
    Brazil
    Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

     released a 10 real
    Brazilian real
    The real is the present-day currency of Brazil. Its sign is R$ and its ISO code is BRL. It is subdivided into 100 centavos ....

     polymer bill to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Portuguese arrival in America. Casa da Moeda do Brasil
    Casa da Moeda do Brasil
    The Casa da Moeda do Brasil is the Brazilian mint, owned by the Brazilian government and administratively subordinated to the Ministry of Finances. It was established in 1694...

     printed 250 million banknotes, around half the 10 real bills in circulation.

  • In November 2000, the People's Republic of China
    China
    Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

     issued a 100 yuan
    Renminbi
    The Renminbi is the official currency of the People's Republic of China . Renminbi is legal tender in mainland China, but not in Hong Kong or Macau. It is issued by the People's Bank of China, the monetary authority of the PRC...

     note to commemorate the millennium
    Millennium
    A millennium is a period of time equal to one thousand years —from the Latin phrase , thousand, and , year—often but not necessarily related numerically to a particular dating system....

    .

  • In December 2000, Bangladesh
    Bangladesh
    Bangladesh , officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh is a sovereign state located in South Asia. It is bordered by India on all sides except for a small border with Burma to the far southeast and by the Bay of Bengal to the south...

     issued 10-Taka polymer notes.

  • In 2000, the Chatham Islands
    Chatham Islands
    The Chatham Islands are an archipelago and New Zealand territory in the Pacific Ocean consisting of about ten islands within a radius, the largest of which are Chatham Island and Pitt Island. Their name in the indigenous language, Moriori, means Misty Sun...

     issued the first of three sets of commemorative banknotes for the collecting market.

  • On 1 January 2001, Australia
    Australia
    Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

     issued a commemorative $5 polymer banknote. It commemorated the centenary of federation.

  • In June 2001, the Solomon Islands
    Solomon Islands
    Solomon Islands is a sovereign state in Oceania, east of Papua New Guinea, consisting of nearly one thousand islands. It covers a land mass of . The capital, Honiara, is located on the island of Guadalcanal...

     issued $2 polymer banknotes, however they reverted back to paper notes in 2006.

  • In the summer of 2001, Vietnam
    Vietnam
    Vietnam – sometimes spelled Viet Nam , officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam – is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and the South China Sea –...

     issued a 50-dong commemorative banknote.

  • In February 2002, Nepal issued a 10 rupee polymer banknote, commemorating the new King Gyanendra. In 2005 it issued a version for circulation without the commemorative text.


  • In 2003, Zambia
    Zambia
    Zambia , officially the Republic of Zambia, is a landlocked country in Southern Africa. The neighbouring countries are the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the north, Tanzania to the north-east, Malawi to the east, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia to the south, and Angola to the west....

     was the first African country to adopt polymer banknotes, with 500 and 1000 kwacha denominations.

  • In November 2003, Papua New Guinea
    Papua New Guinea
    Papua New Guinea , officially the Independent State of Papua New Guinea, is a country in Oceania, occupying the eastern half of the island of New Guinea and numerous offshore islands...

     issued a 20 kina banknote, and began the process of issuing all denominations in polymer format. The only remaining denomination not in polymer is the 5 kina note.

  • From December 2003 to August 2006, Vietnam
    Vietnam
    Vietnam – sometimes spelled Viet Nam , officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam – is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and the South China Sea –...

     adopted polymer banknote in 10,000, 20,000, 50,000, 100,000, 200,000 and 500,000 đồng for general circulation,http://www.chemistry.org/portal/a/c/s/1/feature_ent.html?id=c373e901b8615f2a8f6a17245d830100 becoming the fourth country to fully convert to polymer notes.

  • In September 2004, the 2000 Chilean
    Chile
    Chile ,officially the Republic of Chile , is a country in South America occupying a long, narrow coastal strip between the Andes mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far...

     peso
    Chilean peso
    The peso is the currency of Chile. The current peso has circulated since 1975, with a previous version circulating between 1817 and 1960. The symbol used locally for it is $. The ISO 4217 code for the present peso is CLP. It is subdivided into 100 centavos, although no centavo denominated coins...

     bills began to be issued in polymer banknotes

  • In 2004 it was estimated that there were over 3 billion polymer notes in service.

  • In 2004, the only polymer note for general circulation in Thailand, the 50 baht note issued in 1997, was reissued in paper format. Commemorative notes continue to be issued in polymer format.

  • In 2004, the only polymer note for general circulation in Indonesia
    Indonesia
    Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...

    , the 100,000 rupiah note issued in 1999, was re-issued on paper.

  • In 2005, Papua New Guinea
    Papua New Guinea
    Papua New Guinea , officially the Independent State of Papua New Guinea, is a country in Oceania, occupying the eastern half of the island of New Guinea and numerous offshore islands...

     issued the new 100 kina note, its first denomination that was never printed in paper format.

  • In July 2005, Romania
    Romania
    Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe, on the Lower Danube, within and outside the Carpathian arch, bordering on the Black Sea...

     became the first country to issue a full second generation of plastic notes of each of its denominations; the notes bearing the same design format as the old notes, but their size brings them in line with euro
    Euro
    The euro is the official currency of the eurozone: 17 of the 27 member states of the European Union. It is also the currency used by the Institutions of the European Union. The eurozone consists of Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg,...

     banknotes, and are denominated in a reformed currency where 1 new leu = 10,000 lei

  • In 2005, Bulgaria
    Bulgaria
    Bulgaria , officially the Republic of Bulgaria , is a parliamentary democracy within a unitary constitutional republic in Southeast Europe. The country borders Romania to the north, Serbia and Macedonia to the west, Greece and Turkey to the south, as well as the Black Sea to the east...

     issued the first hybrid paper/polymer banknotes, denominated 20 (new) leva, featuring two plastic "windows" and a hologram.

  • In November 2006 Mexico issued a new 50 pesos polymer banknotes.

  • In 2006 CSIRO
    Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation
    The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation is the national government body for scientific research in Australia...

    , the Australian Government agency issued a non legal tender polymer note to celebrate 80th year of the formation of CSIRO. These notes were issued and distributed to staff members and at selected public events.

  • On February 28, 2007, Nigeria
    Nigeria
    Nigeria , officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a federal constitutional republic comprising 36 states and its Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The country is located in West Africa and shares land borders with the Republic of Benin in the west, Chad and Cameroon in the east, and Niger in...

     issued the 20 naira
    Nigerian naira
    The naira is the currency of Nigeria. It is subdivided into 100 kobo.The Central Bank of Nigeria is the sole issuer of legal tender money throughout the Federation. It controls the volume of money supply in the economy in order to ensure monetary and price stability...

     note as polymer banknotes.

  • In mid 2007, Hong Kong
    Hong Kong
    Hong Kong is one of two Special Administrative Regions of the People's Republic of China , the other being Macau. A city-state situated on China's south coast and enclosed by the Pearl River Delta and South China Sea, it is renowned for its expansive skyline and deep natural harbour...

     issued the polymer 10 dollar note for a 2-year trial period.

  • In June 2007, Brunei became the fifth country to fully convert to polymer notes.

  • In August 2007, Guatemala
    Guatemala
    Guatemala is a country in Central America bordered by Mexico to the north and west, the Pacific Ocean to the southwest, Belize to the northeast, the Caribbean to the east, and Honduras and El Salvador to the southeast...

     issued a 1 quetzal
    Guatemalan quetzal
    The quetzal is the currency of Guatemala. It is named after the national bird of Guatemala, the Resplendent Quetzal. In ancient Mayan culture, the quetzal bird's tail feathers were used as currency. It is divided into 100 cents, called centavos in standard Spanish or lenes in Guatemalan slang...

     polymer banknote.

  • On 13 April 2008, Israel started to issue 20 NIS
    Israeli new sheqel
    The Israeli New Shekel is the currency of the State of Israel. The shekel is divided into 100 agorot...

     Banknotes, due to the high deterioration of 20 NIS paper banknotes. The Israeli polymer notes are printed by Orell Füssli Security Printing of Zürich, Switzerland. http://www.bankisrael.gov.il/press/eng/080414/080414e.htm

  • On 15 April 2008, Papua New Guinea
    Papua New Guinea
    Papua New Guinea , officially the Independent State of Papua New Guinea, is a country in Oceania, occupying the eastern half of the island of New Guinea and numerous offshore islands...

     issued 5 and new 10 kina
    Kina
    Kina can refer to:* Kina * Kina * Kina, Name of People's Republic of China in Bosnian, Croatian, Danish, Montenegrin, Norwegian, Serbian and Swedish language...

     banknotes for general circulation. 5 Kina being the last denomination for Papua New Guinea on polymer.

  • On 1 December 2008, Romania
    Romania
    Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe, on the Lower Danube, within and outside the Carpathian arch, bordering on the Black Sea...

     started issuing a revised version of the 10
    Ten lei (Romanian banknote)
    The ten lei banknote is one of the circulating denomination of the Romanian leu. It is the same size as the 20 Euro banknote.The main color of the banknote is pink. It pictures, on the obverse painter Nicolae Grigorescu, and on the reverse a traditional house from Oltenia, and a detail from the...

     lei
    Romanian leu
    The leu is the currency of Romania. It is subdivided into 100 bani . The name of the currency means "lion". On 1 July 2005, Romania underwent a currency reform, switching from the previous leu to a new leu . 1 RON is equal to 10,000 ROL...

     banknote
    Banknotes of the Romanian leu
    -1917 issue :Issued in Iaşi, during World War I by the Ministry of Finance, as war money. The banknotes represent the subdivision of the leu, the ban -1917 issue ("paper coins"):Issued in Iaşi, during World War I by the Ministry of Finance, as war money. The banknotes represent the subdivision of...

    .

  • On 3 March 2009, Bermuda
    Bermuda
    Bermuda is a British overseas territory in the North Atlantic Ocean. Located off the east coast of the United States, its nearest landmass is Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, about to the west-northwest. It is about south of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, and northeast of Miami, Florida...

     releases new polymer notes.

  • On 15 May 2009, Nicaragua
    Nicaragua
    Nicaragua is the largest country in the Central American American isthmus, bordered by Honduras to the north and Costa Rica to the south. The country is situated between 11 and 14 degrees north of the Equator in the Northern Hemisphere, which places it entirely within the tropics. The Pacific Ocean...

     released new polymer ten and twenty Nicaragua córdoba
    Nicaraguan córdoba
    - History :The first córdoba was introduced on March 20, 1912. It replaced the peso at a rate of 12½ pesos = 1 córdoba & was initially equal to the US dollar. It was named after the founder of Nicaragua, Francisco Hernández de Córdoba....

     banknotes to replace their paper counterparts. After an announcement from the Central Bank of Nicaragua
    Central Bank of Nicaragua
    -External links:...

     in 2008 stated that a new 200 Córdoba banknote would be in circulation, it took the country an additional year to prepare its new set of banknotes. A new polymer two hundred and a hundred córdoba banknote was first issued on the first of June, 2009. In December 2009, a new 50 banknote was released, later followed by a new 500 C$ banknote that was issued on January 12, 2010.


  • In September 2009, Central Bank of Chile
    Central Bank of Chile
    The Central Bank of Chile is the central bank of Chile. It was originally created in 1925 and is incorporated into the current Chilean Constitution as an autonomous institution of constitutional rank.-History:...

     introduced the new series of the Chilean Peso
    Chilean peso
    The peso is the currency of Chile. The current peso has circulated since 1975, with a previous version circulating between 1817 and 1960. The symbol used locally for it is $. The ISO 4217 code for the present peso is CLP. It is subdivided into 100 centavos, although no centavo denominated coins...

    , starting with the redesigned 5000 Pesos banknote. http://www.nuevosbilletes.cl/nuevos-billetes/5000/

  • In March 2010, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty
    Jim Flaherty
    James Michael "Jim" Flaherty, PC, MP is Canada's Minister of Finance and he has also served as Ontario's Minister of Finance. From 1995 until 2005, he was the Member of Provincial Parliament for Whitby—Ajax, and a member of the Progressive Conservative Party caucus...

     announced that The Bank of Canada
    Bank of Canada
    The Bank of Canada is Canada's central bank and "lender of last resort". The Bank was created by an Act of Parliament on July 3, 1934 as a privately owned corporation. In 1938, the Bank became a Crown corporation belonging to the Government of Canada...

     will introduce new polymer notes by 2011 as part of a plan to modernize the currency and crack down on counterfeiting.http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/ottawa-notebook/open-your-wallets-for-plastic-cash/article1489845/. In June 2011, The Bank of Canada
    Bank of Canada
    The Bank of Canada is Canada's central bank and "lender of last resort". The Bank was created by an Act of Parliament on July 3, 1934 as a privately owned corporation. In 1938, the Bank became a Crown corporation belonging to the Government of Canada...

     announced that polymer bank notes will be in circulation in November 2011, in an effort to curb counterfeiting. They will start with the $100 denomination in November 2011, while $50 Bills will be put into circulation in March 2012; the $20, $10 and $5 denominations will be released in 2013. http://www.bankofcanada.ca/2011/06/speeches/canada-new-polymer-bank-notes/

  • In June 2010, The Central Bank of the Dominican Republic announced the introduction of a new polymer based 20 pesos
    Dominican peso
    The Dominican peso, also called peso oro is the currency of the Dominican Republic. Its symbol is "$", with "RD$" used when distinction from other pesos is required; its ISO 4217 code is "DOP". Each peso is divided into 100 centavos , for which the ¢ symbol is used...

     bill. http://www.bancentral.gov.do/billetes_monedas/billetes_20.html

  • In October 2010, The Central Bank of Chile
    Central Bank of Chile
    The Central Bank of Chile is the central bank of Chile. It was originally created in 1925 and is incorporated into the current Chilean Constitution as an autonomous institution of constitutional rank.-History:...

     announced the redesigned 2000 Pesos that will be on circulation on November 20, as a program to change the old designs and make them more secure.http://www.nuevosbilletes.cl/nuevos-billetes/2000/


Origin of term polymer banknote


The term polymer in place of plastic to describe banknotes was introduced by the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) at the launch of its $10 note on 1 November 1993. Jeffrey Bentley-Johnston and his firm were retained to assist in the launch the $10 note after a cool reception for the preceding $5 note. He held the view that plastic and banknote were close to being oxymoronic. Having earlier worked in a firm that designed and constructed synthetic fibre plants, he recognised the polymer nature of the new banknote and so proposed use of the term. The transition from plastic to polymer is evidenced in the launch of the $5 note in July 1992 (plastic) to the launch of the $10 note in November 1993 (polymer). This is documented on the launch TV commercials viewable on the RBA website.