Paul Ferris, Product Manager at Wincor Nixdorf UK/I
Now that the £5 polymer note has been out in the market since September 2016, it will not be long until the new £10 polymer note is released to the public. The introduction of the £5 polymer note caused discussion among curious consumers, as videos of people attempting to scrunch, tear and fold the new tender quickly surfaced on social media sites.
The super slick appearance of the new notes is a definite upgrade to the old paper versions and so far has appeared popular with consumers. Certainly, more so than with banks, building societies and independent ATM deployers have had to invest in some significant infrastructure updates in order to accommodate this change in cash.
Longevity of the notes
The UK is the first country within continental Europe to switch to the polymer bank notes, following in the footsteps of Australia, which switched to polymer way back in 1996. Looking at the extensive benefits that come with these polymer substrates, it is easy to understand why The Bank of England initiated this polymer note transition. Not only are the new notes far more durable, they last at least 2.5 times longer than the old paper versions, making them more cost effective.
The new notes also function as a preventative to counterfeit note production, with the polymer properties making it almost impossible to replicate. In addition, viruses and microbes are unable to latch onto the surfaces of the polymer material for long periods, making the notes more hygienic for consumers to use.
Following the successful introduction of £5 polymer note, The Bank of England will now be looking to roll out £10 polymer notes this year, which will then be accompanied by £20 polymer notes by 2020. Such a wide scale change requires great planning and preparation – below is a list of best practices that will be able to help banks, building societies, independent deployers and other financial institutions prepare for the next stage of the polymer revolution.
- Have a plan ready and stick with it
Financial institutions should be prepared and have a plan in place now. With a higher frequency of £10 notes in circulation, the roll-out of this next note will be on a much wider scale than the preceding fiver. Preparation should be centred on ensuring a smooth transition into business structures, safeguarding the continuous operation of different processes such as cash deposits, cash recycling and cash out.
- Understand your infrastructure
Knowing your infrastructure inside-out will be extremely beneficial for ensuring suitable plans are put in place. The change in the physical properties of the new notes will affect both hardware and software, and understanding in advance what this means for you will help to identify and manage any intricacies, assisting with a smoother overall transition.
- Make sure that your staff are well informed
Frontline staff are usually the first point of contact for customer service operations, and it is vital for them to be fully aware of the all changes. Keeping staff informed and up to date with the latest information will enable them to support customers and deal with any challenges that may arise.
- Consult vendors about the change
There is nothing better than advice from vendors who have already experienced such a transition. Now that the UK is joining the likes of Canada and Australia in adopting polymer notes, it definitely would not hurt to get advice from vendors operating in those countries on how to make the transition more manageable as well as assessing their key learnings.
- Polymer should be included in your long term strategies
With the upcoming release of £10 polymer notes and the subsequent expected release of the £20 version in a few years’ time, these notes are definitely here to stay and should be part of your long term strategy. These changes also need to be considered alongside other key industry changes to ensure that strategies and plans are as efficient and effective as possible.
As part of their strategy to manage industry and compliance changes, every financial institution will have a steadfast plan for when £10 polymer notes are launched this year. However thorough preparation is essential and these tips should work to supplement the meticulous planning financial institutions already have underway.
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