BoS commits to plastic bank notes

The Bank of England unveiled its plastic notes last year.

The Bank of Scotland has announced that its next £5 and £10 banknotes will be printed on plastic.

A statement from the Edinburgh-based lender said the first of its polymer notes will be issued in November to celebrate the bank’s partnership with BBC Children in Need.

Polymer, a thin flexible plastic film, will replace the cotton paper used for notes currently in issue and will be slightly smaller, with the new £5 note measuring 125 x 65 mm compared to the current 135 x70mm.

However, the new polymer notes will reuse the existing Bank of Scotland banknote designs, with Sir Walter Scott and The Mound on the front of the note and the bridges theme continuing on the back.

The announcement follows engagement with the Bank of England which announced a similar time frame for printing polymer notes last year.

According to the Bank of Scotalnd, the benefits of polymer notes include:

  • Resistance to dirt and moisture meaning they stay cleaner for longer than paper banknotes
  • Incorporating advanced security features that make them difficult to counterfeit

  • More durable, as they last at least 2.5 times longer than paper banknotes so will take much longer to become “tatty”, improving the quality of banknotes in circulation.
  • Polymer banknotes are more environmentally friendly and, because they last longer are, over time, cheaper than paper banknotes. Being thin and flexible they fit into wallets and purses as easily as paper banknotes.

Bank of Scotland said its first polymer banknote will be a one-off, limited edition £5 note that will be issued in November, and will be auctioned to raise money for BBC Children in Need.

The circulation will be limited to just 50 notes which will feature the designs from winners of a children’s competition that has just been launched by the bank.

The design of the main replacement polymer £5 note will be unveiled before the end of this year with the notes itself issuing in the second half of 2016.  It will be followed around a year later by the polymer £10 note.

Robin Bulloch
Robin Bulloch

Robin Bulloch, managing director Bank of Scotland said: “Bank of Scotland has been issuing banknotes for over 300 years and we take seriously our responsibility to create good quality genuine banknotes that can be used with confidence. Polymer notes are cleaner, more secure, and more durable than paper notes. They will provide enhanced counterfeit resilience, and increase the quality of Bank of Scotland notes in circulation.

“Our very first polymer note will be the limited edition fiver to celebrate our partnership with BBC Children in Need and this will be out at the end of this year.  This will be the first time the designs of children have been incorporated on a Scottish banknote and we hope to raise lots of money for BBC Children in Need.”