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Canada releases new plastic currency

United States America,Business/Economy, Tue, 27 Mar 2012 IANS

Ottawa, March 27 (IANS) Canadians will get their first look at a plastic bank note that will replace the paper 50 Canadian dollar bill.


The Bank of Canada announced Monday that the new notes will be distributed to all the financial institutions throughout the country starting Monday, and the new bills will be the first polymer notes that will be available in automatic banking machines, reported Xinhua.


The 100 Canadian dollar polymer bill came out last fall, but since Canadians rarely use such big bills, many Canadians have not seen a polymer note. Eventually, all of Canada's bank notes will be replaced with plastic money.


Speaking at a Quebec news conference, Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney said the bill will thwart counterfeiters. He said physicists, chemists and engineers helped create the polymer bills, which are very difficult to tear.



"The bank notes themselves have crossed a technological frontier. There's simply no other currency like it," he told reporters.


Carney said counterfeiting had already been reduced by 90 percent since 2004 because of cooperation between police forces and banks.


"Issuing this new series of bank notes enables us to continue to stay ahead of counterfeiters," Carney said. "In addition to impressive security features to combat counterfeiting, these notes will last longer than those made from paper -- at least two-and-a-half times longer -- and will therefore be more economical and have a smaller environmental footprint.


"When they are eventually withdrawn from circulation, they will be recycled into other products here in Canada," he said.


The new 50 dollar note depicts the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Amundsen, an image intended to highlight the nation's arctic research efforts. The bill, like the old one, bears the image of Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King, Canada's longest-serving head of government, who led the country through World War II.


The bill is made of Australian-produced polymer that is almost impossible to tear with bare hands. The bill contains many security features, including raised letters, hidden numbers and a clear window containing a hologram.


Shelly Glover, a former police officer who is now a Conservative MP, said the 50-Canadian-dollar notes are an important part of the government's "ongoing fight" against counterfeiting.


"Crimes that affect the economy pose a serious threat," said Glover.


Smaller denominations in the polymer series, the 20, 10 and 5 dollar bills that are the most commonly-used bank notes, are expected to be released by the end of 2013.


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