Polymer $20 bill tossed into circulation today
A slick, plastic version of Canada’s most widely used bank note entered circulation Wednesday.
The Bank of Canada unveiled a polymer version of the $20 bill at the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa, marking yet another step in the nation’s eventual shift to plastic currency.
Gerry Gaetz, chief of the central bank's currency department, has referred to the release as the “most important launch so far” due to the ubiquitous nature of the $20 bill.
Part of the bank note’s makeover includes an illustrated ode to Canada’s veterans, with an image of the National Vimy Memorial featured on the back of the bill.
But like its $50 and $100 predecessors, the most substantial changes to the bill are almost invisible to casual observer. The bank note will include security features such as raised ink, holographic security areas and metallic images printed on a transparent window.
Printed on an Australian-produced synthetic polymer, the new $20 bill also has a waxy, more-slippery feel than the cotton-paper blend that currently lines wallets.
The BoC has said the shift to polymer banknotes will help discourage counterfeit bill makers. However, some small business owners have expressed frustration with the new synthetic bills, saying that the banknotes are undetectable in some money counters and ATMs.
Others have gone looking for weaknesses in the new polymer bills, posting amateur videos to YouTube of their efforts to rip, soak and crumple the notes. One rumour suggested that the plastic bills melted after being left on a car dashboard in the sun -- a story that the BoC has refuted.
With its latest release, the BoC hopes to dispel some myths about the polymer bank notes.
In an advance demonstration for The Canadian Press, the bank showed how the green bill could withstand a boiling pot of water, a crumpling machine and other tests.
The last instalments in the polymer bill series -- $10 and $5 -- are slated for release by the end of 2013.