The Bank of England’s first polymer note – the new £5 featuring Sir Winston Churchill – enters circulation today, Tuesday 13 September.
440 million of the new fivers have already been printed and should already be available in cash machines and from bank counters all over the country.
The new £5 note is made from polymer, a thin, flexible plastic material which is resistant to dirt and moisture, and lasts around 2.5 times longer than paper notes. The material has also allowed the introduction of a new generation of security features, making it even harder to counterfeit.
Paper £5 notes will be gradually withdrawn as they are banked by retailers and businesses but can be used until 5 May 2017, after which they will cease to be legal tender.
Commenting on the introduction of The New Fiver, Governor of Bank of England Mark Carney said: “The New Fiver, made of polymer, will be cleaner, safer and stronger. Resistant to dirt and moisture, it will stay in good condition for longer. The new security features make it harder to counterfeit. While the use of polymer means it can better withstand being repeatedly folded into wallets or scrunched up inside pockets and can also survive a spin in the washing machine. We expect polymer notes to last at least two-and-a-half times longer than the current generation of fivers and therefore reduce future costs of production.”