The Association of Commercial Banknote Issuers, on behalf of Bank of Ireland UK and Ulster Bank, has announced that all Northern Ireland paper £50 and paper £100 notes must be withdrawn from circulation by 29 September 2023. These banks first introduced polymer notes in February 2019, and removing these final two notes from circulation will complete Northern Ireland’s transition to polymer banknotes.
This news was echoed by the Committee of Scottish Bankers, on behalf of the Scottish issuing banks (Royal Bank of Scotland, Clydesdale Bank, and Bank of Scotland) which announced that all Scottish paper £100 notes must be withdrawn from circulation by 29 September. Scottish issuing banks have been producing and circulating polymer banknotes since 2015. After 29 September, just one paper banknote, the £1 note from the Ilay Series, will remain in circulation in Scotland.
The power of polymer banknotes
The polymer substrate provides significant benefits over paper. Polymer notes are:
- Durable: Polymer banknotes are stronger and more durable than their paper counterparts.
- Economical: Polymer banknotes last longer, in good condition, so new notes don’t need to be produced as often.
- Environmentally friendly: Whereas old, worn out paper notes taken out of circulation clutter the environment, polymer notes remain in circulation far longer.
Furthermore, when a polymer banknote contains cutting-edge security features, it becomes far more difficult to counterfeit.
All of the Northern Ireland and Scottish banks involved have been swapping the paper banknotes for their new, polymer counterparts, so the majority of old paper notes have already been removed from circulation.
Association of Commercial Banknote Issuers
Committee for Scottish Bankers
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