Canadian cash to do away with paper
The new polymer Canadian $100 bill has security features that make it hard to counterfeit but easy to verify.
June 21st, 2011
02:51 PM ET

Canadian cash to do away with paper

"Paper or plastic?" That question isn't asked frequently at grocery stores anymore, but it may be poised for a comeback - at Canadian banks.

The Bank of Canada will start issuing high-tech currency made of polymers instead of the traditional cotton paper and featuring transparent windows (one shaped like a maple leaf) to frustrate counterfeiters.

Security and verification features include raised ink in the numerals and the featured portrait, color-shifting images embedded in the large window, and a number hidden in the maple-leaf window.

Watch a video demonstrating the security features

"Our mandate at the Bank of Canada is to make sure Canadians can use these notes with confidence," bank spokeswoman Julie Girard said.

The first note to be issued will be the $100 bill, scheduled for November. Those will be followed by a $50 note in March and $20 note later in 2012. The $10 and $5 bills will come out by the end of 2013.

For the next six months, the Bank of Canada will work at educating the public and businesses on the new notes. It will also inform retailers, financial institutions and law enforcement agencies about how to check the new security features, the bank said in a statement.

The new bills will be the same size and colors as current bills (though thinner and lighter). They can be folded and carried in a wallet, though they can't be creased and will return to their original shape, Girard said. For carrying loose bills in one's pocket, a money clip might be a good idea, she advised.

The polymer currency will be more durable than its  paper predecessor, Girard said.

"It's not meant to go through the wash and it's not meant to go through the dryer, and it's certainly not meant to be ironed," but it should withstand the occasional mishap, she said.

Their resistance to crinkling and becoming limp like paper bills will make the new notes easier and more efficient to process, she said. For example, they won't be rejected by vending machines because of bent corners and they will stack neatly for counting machines.

The new bills cost almost twice as much to produce but are expected to last 2.5 times as long, Girard said. Their lighter weight also will cut transportation costs, and the Bank of Canada intends to recycle them when they wear out, providing another environmental benefit, she said.

As before, the new bills will be color-coded and have tactile features to help visually impaired people distinguish one denomination from another.

About 30 other countries already use polymer notes for some or all of their currency, Girard said.

Australians accepted their polymer bills and consider them more hygienic than paper ones, according to The Reserve Bank of Australia also reported it needed to devote fewer resources to checking the authenticity of the more secure notes.

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Filed under: Canada • Crime • Economy
soundoff (227 Responses)
  1. Larry


    June 21, 2011 at 5:11 pm | Report abuse |
  2. asgardshill

    Those bills are great for picking locks. (Any thin springy piece of plastic works, but these bills won't get you busted for carrying burglar's tools if you're caught with one).

    June 21, 2011 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |
  3. ken

    when do we get them in the USA?

    June 21, 2011 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Robert

    This is great, but they should keep the Queen's portrait on them.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Local Man

      Queen was never on the $5, $10, and $100 bills ... has always been Prime Ministers

      June 21, 2011 at 7:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kris

      Why? She's simply a figurehead who does nothing for our country (except use our tax money when she visits), why should the queen be on any of our money?

      June 21, 2011 at 11:03 pm | Report abuse |
  5. JB

    thanks for the laugh

    June 21, 2011 at 5:13 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Special Ed

    Monoploly udsthus payper muney. Don't they?

    June 21, 2011 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dirty

      The new Monopoly game uses Debit joke.

      June 21, 2011 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
  7. william

    I can't imagine how you could have read this article and manage to come to that conclusion. You should consider tucking more aluminum foil into your hat it should help you.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |
  8. ken

    RF tags do away with theft. the only catch is that you will have to have an RF tag on you that lets the system know who you are. For people carrying ID that wont be an issue but what about kids that dont yet have ID. Seems to me moving towards putting RF tags on or should i say IN people. Like the chip for dogs that tracks a missing pet. The chip will be easily read by emergency personnel if you goto a hospital to tell them your issues (allergies to medicine, medical history, etc,) and link to your bank account so you go through the doors of a store and no need to go through a checkout line. Of course you will be linked to your bank account that way. Sounds great.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • john

      i read about chip implantation as a sign of the end time, before computers had guis. scary man.

      June 21, 2011 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • WDS

      And privacy finally and completely dies. yay!

      June 21, 2011 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
  9. haha

    she sounds like a robot.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Special Ed

    Monopthony. Wait! wait! Monolpony. Dang. I can never pernounce it right.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Gene

    @ Robert, the Queen is on the Canadian $20 bill. The person you see on the $100 bill is Sir Robert Borden.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Johan S

    Huh? it can't go through the dryer? If this is the case, if I was in Canada I'd be broke in no time.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:20 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Sooo what you're really trying to say is...

    when you receive one of those new bills, it will get scanned with your personal info on it and the money is traced to you and everyone who uses it? is that the new world order you're speaking of?

    June 21, 2011 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Are you nutso?

      Take your medications Luv.

      June 21, 2011 at 7:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • CJA

      So, let's say we are are my place and I'm selling you my iPod. You hand me a plastic $100. How does our personnel information get scanned and where is it stored? If you change your mind and I hand the bill back does it scan again or is this bill so smart to know this is a refund and not a sale? It should be clear this is impossible and your fears are not founded in logic. It's just a hunk of plastic and can't do magic

      June 21, 2011 at 8:56 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Alex

    This is not new, Australia has had these bills for a while, also Mexico.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Doug

      Yes, if you had ready the whole article, it says that...

      June 21, 2011 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lydia

      Still new in Canada Sherlock.

      June 21, 2011 at 5:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Colin in Florida

      Used them in Australia years ago-worked great.
      Australia also got rid of pennies, which also worked great. Stores rounded things in the consumers favor. Some things are still priced to the penny, like tomatoes at say $2.99/pound, and then when the bills was tallied at the end of the purchase, if anything is priced b yhte pound, the cash registers all rounded in your favor, automatically. As they say, no worries, mate!

      June 21, 2011 at 5:40 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Socrates

    Give it 2 weeks, and the Chinese will figure a way to reproduce it.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse |
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