New plastic fivers unveiled

New plastic fivers unveiled

author: Dan Griffiths

By Dan Griffiths


Ever washed a pair of jeans and later found a soggy fiver hiding in one of the pockets, then popped it on to a radiator to try and salvage it?

But as of September, these accidents should start to become a thing of the past. The Bank of England has revealed that 440 million new plastic five pound notes are due to go into circulation later this year.

You can see the Bank of England’s new design here.

Can I rip it? No, you can’t

Rather than the current paper versions, the new fivers are made from polymer plastic, which means they are nearly impossible to rip and can survive in a washing machine on a 90C cycle. Not only this, but the material also repels moisture and dirt, so you can wipe it clean if you spill anything on it.

The new notes will be around 15 per cent smaller than the existing paper version, but the Bank of England has said they may have a tendency to stick together. Because of the material they’re made from, there may be a higher risk of accidentally handing over two at a time without realising – so make sure you do check when you go to pay.

Where Elizabeth Fry currently sits on the reverse side of the note opposite Queen Elizabeth II, her replacement on the new notes will be Winston Churchill.

But the fiver isn’t the only note changing to plastic. By 2017, we’ll have plastic £10 notes featuring Jane Austen, and our £20 notes will be plastic and feature the painter JMW Turner by 2020. It’s not yet been decided whether the £50 note will change to plastic.

Is it too late?

Some have suggested that the change to plastic notes will cost banks and shops £236 million to update cash machines so they’re able to take the smaller notes.

When newer technologies like contactless are proving so popular – research from Payments UK suggests debit cards and contactless payments will overtake notes and coins by 2021 – are these new notes arriving too late? It’s hard to picture a society where all payments are made by debit card, credit card, contactless or smartphone paying services, but there’s been an increasing demand for more modern ways to pay.

When you can simply tap your credit or debit card on to a contactless reader to pay for an item, it’s easy to see why more and more of us are choosing to pay with contactless.

Do you think the new plastic notes are a good idea? Would you like to see everything moved online instead, or is cash here to stay? We’d love to hear your views, so feel free to get in touch with us via our Facebook or Twitter pages.

Disclaimer: All information and links are correct at the time of publishing.

author: Dan Griffiths

By Dan Griffiths

New plastic fivers unveiled New plastic fivers unveiled