Should we switch to plastic bank notes?

Poll started 24 Sep 2013

The Bank of England is planning to scrap paper bank notes in favour of polymer (plastic) notes, as used in Canada and Australia.

They’re more durable than paper notes and they survive money laundering – being put in the washing machine – but not ironing. They can be folded, but aren’t as easy to roll in a wad. Concerns so far include cleanliness and whether they can be used for magic tricks.

The Bank of England is asking for feedback. We’ll be sending it the results of this poll.

Which of the options in this week's poll is closest to your view?

Did you vote? Why did you pick that option? Are you surprised at the results so far? Have your say below clicking reply to discuss. If you haven’t already, join the forum to reply. If you aren’t sure how it all works, read our New to Forum? Intro Guide .

To see the results from last time, click this.


  • mdr86mdr86 Forumite
    102 Posts
    Part of the Furniture 10 Posts Combo Breaker
    I'd avoid the whole issue and scrap cash :)
  • guesswho2000guesswho2000 Forumite
    1.7K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Uniform Washer
    Couldn't care less as long as it still has the Queen's head on! Everything I use to pay is made of plastic anyway (cards) so it'd make no difference whatsoever!
  • How much is all of this going to cost and who's going to pay for it all? That's what I'm more interested in. It is meant to be a time of saving money but as usual the banks seem to be wasting it.
  • chocaholicmancchocaholicmanc Forumite
    63 Posts
    Tenth Anniversary 10 Posts Combo Breaker
    Perhaps they should go a step further and do what New Zealand do and scrap 1p and 2p coins. If you pay for something by card you pay the exact amount. If you pay by cash it gets rounded down if under 5p and rounded up if over 5p (eg £1.54 becomes £1.50 and £1.56 becomes £1.60). Fantastic system which eliminates some of the horrible dirty coins!

    But I definitely think making the notes more durable would be better. No more taped together £5 notes!
  • westyuk_2westyuk_2 Forumite
    15 Posts
    Tenth Anniversary Combo Breaker
    What happens to the notes when they need to be destroyed.

    I'm sure the plastic or Polymer material will last longer but notes will still become soiled and there will be a need to destroy them.

    Currently the paper ones are burnt, would burning plastic notes not be harmful to our environment?
  • MothballsWalletMothballsWallet Forumite
    15.8K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Name Dropper Photogenic
    I'd support it if the senior bank bosses took a 99.9% pay cut in order to fund it.

    Also, how would the forgery detectors work with polymer notes? Could the metal strip still be put in them?
  • ArthurianArthurian Forumite
    762 Posts
    Part of the Furniture 500 Posts
    Wouldn't these new plastic notes use up precious resources of oil in their manufacture?
  • edited 25 September 2013 at 1:30PM
    dastepdastep Forumite
    39 Posts
    edited 25 September 2013 at 1:30PM
    I don't care if the notes are made out of plastic or titanium. What concerns me is the way in which currencies are being 'fiddled' by organisations like the US Federal Reserve, the International Monetary Fund, and the Bank of England vis-a-vis Quantitative Easing which robs people's savings and erodes pension funds by increasing inflation.

    How ironic that the Bank of England is more concerned with combatting counterfeiting, which probably has nil affect on the value of the currency, while refusing to address the impact of QE on savings and pensions.

    The term penny wise and pound foolish springs to mind.
  • I think plastic notes are a much better option than the linen ones. I've used them before in small numbers and once you get over the odd feel of them there's nothing to think about. They're also much harder to counterfeit which makes them extremely desirable.

    In answer to westyuk at post #6. My understanding is that when polymer notes are taken out of circulation they are melted down and formed into other products such as wastebins so they're friendlier to the environment than linen banknotes.
  • I've lived and worked in Vietnam. When I first went there in 1993, all the notes were of the "paper/cotton" type. They didn't have coins at all. Some of the notes were very tatty, but it was convenient only needing one type of holder in which to store cash. (No need for a separate coin section.)

    Then they started switching to plastic notes and coins. People hated the coins so much that they are phasing them out again. The plastic notes are already beginning to look a bit worn.

    In conclusion:
    1) Make all the notes smaller - £50 notes stick out of wallets too much.
    2) Stick with paper for £20/£50.
    3) Go to plastic for £5/£10. Also have £1/£2 notes. So much lighter than those wretched coins.
This discussion has been closed.
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