Canada invests about C$20M toward development of new polymer bills to replace cotton bills; new C$100 bills to debut in November, with other bills to be released later in 2012

KAMLOOPS, British Columbia , October 19, 2011 () – A representative from the Bank of Canada‚Äč was in Kamloops this week speaking to local retailers about new bank notes slated to enter circulation next month.

Farid Salji, a Vancouver-based analyst with the nation’s central bank, brought with him samples of the new $100 bills, which are made of a new material and feature many advanced security features.

“They’re more durable, they’re environmentally friendly and they’re secure,” he said of the new polymer bank notes, expected to show up at banks and stores across Canada in November.

“This is state-of-the-art.”

The new $100 bills still feature a portrait of Robert Borden, Canada’s eighth prime minister, but the look is a departure from the 2004-series of hundreds Canadians have become used to handling.

Most noticeable is a large vertical “window” on the bill, featuring two holograms.

There is another smaller window, which is shaped like a maple leaf.

Salji said the windows, which would be tough for a counterfeiter to duplicate, are for security.

“They cannot replicate the bill itself,” he said.

“All they can do is mimic features.”

Salji and representatives from the Kamloops RCMP were at Aberdeen Mall yesterday (Oct. 17), showing the new bills to retailers and educating them about how to stay one step ahead of counterfeiters.

The Bank of Canada works closely with police across the country to help stop the spread of funny money.

Development of the new bank notes cost approximately $20 million, Salji said, and the polymer bills cost about 19 cents each to produce.

The old cotton-based bills cost about 10 cents apiece, he said.

According to the Bank of Canada, polymer bank notes have a life-span of about 17 years, compared to a maximum of 10 years for cotton bills.

Polymer bills are waterproof and cannot be torn.

Even so, Salji said the 2011-series notes likely won’t remain in use for as long as they could, given the ever-changing technology of counterfeiters and the need for cash to be kept up-to-date and secure.

There is presently an estimated $54 billion in Canadian cash in circulation, including about 1.52-billion genuine bank notes.

Polymer bank notes are made of plypropylene, a durable plastic used in everything from nylon ropes to reusable containers.

They are already in use in more than 30 countries around the world, including Australia, Brazil and Israel.

After the new $100 bill debuts next month, the $50 note is expected to follow in March.

New versions of the $20, $10 and $5 bills are due out later in 2012.

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