Bank of England considering replacing paper notes with polymer cash.
Plastic notes being considered by the Bank of England could help prevent counterfeiting and push more people to automated banking systems, according to a cash management expert.
The Bank claims the wipe-clean polymer notes could be ready for circulation in 2016 if the public proves happy to use them instead of the standard paper notes.
A roadshow over the next two months will be used to gauge public opinion across the UK before a decision is reached in December over whether to use them.
The proposed plastic notes would last 2.5 times as long as their paper equivalent and more secure, the Bank claims, because they could adopt more sophisticated anti-counterfeit measures.
Cash management firm Wincor Nixdorf’s banking director, Ian Byrne, agreed – and added that if they are introduced more people will begin using automated banking systems.
He said: "It is a common problem for notes to be rejected from machines because of being torn or too damaged to be processed and, while systems are being developed to accept more of these sorts of damaged notes, cleaner, plastic notes will speed up the process significantly.
"This will allow the customer to carry out even faster transitions in branches which will inevitably lead to increased customer satisfaction. While plastic notes might not mean the days of fraud are over, they certainly could mean that queuing at the bank could soon become a thing of the past."
Charles Bean, deputy governor of the Bank of England, said the plastic notes would prove cheaper to print than paper ones, after an initial outlay.
Such notes are already in use in Canada, New Zealand, Mexico and Singapore.