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The New Fiver: The Bank of England unveils its first polymer note

Categories : Cash is trust
June 2, 2016
Tags : Banknote/Note, Cash handlers Print-works, Central Bank, Durability, Europe, Security features, Substrates
Mark Carney unveiled the design of The New Fiver which will be issued on 13 September 2016.
Bank of England Press Office

On June 2, Bank of England Governor Mark Carney unveiled the design of The New Fiver which will be issued on 13 September 2016. The New Fiver is the first Bank of England note to be printed on polymer, a thin flexible plastic, and will feature Sir Winston Churchill.

The New Fiver is cleaner, safer and stronger. The introduction of polymer banknotes allows for a new generation of security features which make it even harder to counterfeit, details of which are set out below. The note is also resistant to dirt and moisture and so remains in much better condition for longer. The strength of the polymer material means that The New Fiver is expected to last at least 2.5 times longer – around 5 years – even after being folded into wallets and scrunched up in pockets.

Speaking at Blenheim Palace, Churchill’s place of birth, the Governor said:

“The New Fiver will commemorate the achievements of the only Prime Minister to win the Nobel Prize for literature and one of the greatest statesmen of all time – Sir Winston Churchill. As he himself said, ‘a nation that forgets its past has no future’. Our banknotes are repositories of the United Kingdom’s collective memory and like Churchill, our new polymer notes will stand the test of time. The New Fiver, the first of the Bank’s polymer notes, is cleaner, safer and stronger. It incorporates advanced security features making the notes even harder to counterfeit. The polymer is also harder wearing, as well as resistant to dirt and moisture, so we expect it to last for at least 2.5 times longer.”

The New Fiver’s security features include:

As announced in April 2013, the note will celebrate the achievements of statesman, Sir Winston Churchill. As revealed at the time the design includes:

To help vision impaired people distinguish between denominations the notes retain tiered sizing and include bold numerals and similar colour palettes to the current notes. In addition, polymer £10 and £20 notes will each have a tactile feature created by a series of raised dots, and the £5 note will be distinguishable by the absence of a feature.

The New Fiver will be issued on 13 September after which point paper £5 notes will be gradually withdrawn from circulation as they are banked by retailers and businesses. The public can continue to spend paper £5 notes as usual until May 2017 after which they will cease to be legal tender. Following this, paper £5 notes will still be exchanged at the Bank of England. The new polymer £10 featuring Jane Austen will enter circulation in summer 2017 followed by the J.M.W. Turner £20 note by 2020.

The decision to move to polymer followed an extensive research programme and public consultation. Of the public who responded to the consultation 87% were in favour of the change.

Further details about The New Fiver can be found on

The educational film which explains the security features of The New Fiver is available here.