Polymer banknotes could cost businesses £236m

Brendan Doyle
Brendan Doyle, chief executive of CMS Payments Intelligence

The chief executive of CMS Payments Intelligence has claimed that UK banks and retailers face costs of up to £236 million to ensure they can accept and process polymer banknotes.

The Bank of England is introducing polymer banknotes next year, though there are already some polymer banknotes in circulation in Scotland.

Clydesdale Bank started issuing Britain’s first polymer banknotes in March when it launched a redesigned £5 note made entirely from plastic.

Brendan Doyle, chief executive of CMS Payments Intelligence, said ATMs, vending machines and self-service checkouts in supermarkets would need to be recalibrated across the UK in order to accept the new notes.

He said: “The Bank of England has not adequately acknowledged the potential disruption and costs to the cash supply industry and retail sectors.

“There will be huge operational challenges for all merchants, particularly those who operate ATMs and vending machines.”

Mr Doyle added: “Ultimately it will be consumers who suffer as the net costs will inevitably feed through to merchants before finally hitting consumers in the form of higher prices.”

However, a spokesperson for the Bank of England said: “We consulted the industry and the public before making our decision in 2013 and we are committed to continuing to work with retailers and others in the cash industry to ensure a smooth transition.”

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