Having been involved in the currency handling business for many years and having experience in many countries means that I have had the opportunity to handle many different kinds of “paper” money. I placed the word paper in parentheses for a reason, because in today’s world not all currency is made of paper. Australia started the trend away from paper/cotton based currency a few years ago. They were followed by Mexico and a handful of other countries. Now Canada is joining the ranks.
Announced in the Canadian federal government budget and made public last Thursday (March 4th) the Bank of Canada will begin the transition to polymer substrate currency in 2011. One the one hand I applaud this move because as all Canadians know counterfeiters like to take advantage of the previous relatively low quality of anti-counterfeiting measures in their notes. I say previously because the latest series of notes employ some rather high-end and pricey deterrents. That said, there is still a wear-and-tear problem with paper/cotton based notes. By combining polymer and new high-tech authentication features I am hopeful that Canada will all but eliminate counterfeit.
This begs another question – will the Bank of Canada place a recall on the paper/cotton based notes as each new polymer based denomination is circulated. If so, this would be a radical departure from the hard-line of never removing a circulated note until it’s lifetime is over. On the up-side such a move would more quickly eliminate the fear most of us Canadians have of questioning the authenticity of the notes we receive. A fear that has not evaporated even with the latest series of paper/cotton based notes.
There is still one big “but” in this for me – only because I have handled many Australian and Mexican notes – they just feel funny – which I guess will put a new spin on the term “funny money”!