Howard A. Daniel III submitted the following thoughts on the pros and cons of polymer banknotes.
I read the item in last week's issue about the Bank of England switching from paper to polymer.
I am now in Viet Nam and have been using their polymer notes for many years. They had some trouble at first getting the right mixture of ink to adhere to their polymer but they worked it out. Polymer notes do last much longer than paper in the humid tropical climate here.
The "more difficult to fold" is true but once folded, they do not stack well and are trouble in ATMs. Once folded, they are very difficult to completely unfold. The banks here must load their ATMs here with notes with no folds in them. "Slippery when counting" is something new to me but everyone here who counts large numbers of notes also has a counting machine to check their accuracy. The old paper counting machines had to be replaced with new counting machines that can count both paper and polymer. Some of the highest technology counting machines also have counterfeit detection on them, so that is a plus.
The "difficult to counterfeit" is somewhat true but it depends on the money and protection available to the counterfeiter. There is a major polymer counterfeiting operation in southeast China which appears to have legal protection and the money to finance the production of polymer VERY CLOSE to banknote quality. It took a while but the Vietnamese have stopped 99.9% of the notes from that facility coming into Viet Nam. I cannot go into their solution but the Bank of England better make sure they have their own solution to stop the Chinese polymer counterfeits from coming into the United Kingdom! The Chinese do not only counterfeit coins, and they will counterfeit coins and notes of friends and foe!
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
BANK OF ENGLAND TO ISSUE POLYMER BANKNOTE
Wayne Homren, Editor
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