The evolution of currency

The introduction of the £10 polymer banknote is the biggest shake up to UK currency since decimalisation almost half a century ago.

The evolution of currency

Unlike the evolution of payments, and the way we trade with each other, this widespread change to traditional currency will instigate a huge logistical operation in the banking sector to replace the paper form of the £10 note.

But it’s not without reason and nor is it just a cosmetic ‘nice to have’ upgrade to our currency – polymer notes will help keep the future of our notes secure as cash maintains its value as a payment option with the general public.

Although in a very small minority, counterfeit notes continue to remain in circulation and cause the industry a headache. New polymer notes will help solve this problem with the notes being much harder to copy than their traditional paper counterparts. Investments have been made in software protection, and the robust security that we have surrounding online banking platforms, and it’s vital that we also invest in physical currency and the protection of it.

While the material change we saw last year for the £5 note, and now with the £10 note, may appear to be less complex than developing code and algorithms to protect the vast online banking networks that we’re all now used to, the sheer scale of this change in traditional currency should not be underestimated.

There are also tangible long-term cost saving benefits associated with the new £10 notes, which is clearly a huge draw for the industry, with the £10 polymer note being more durable and requiring replacement less frequently.

When ATMs were first introduced in the UK, a £10 note was the largest denomination which could be withdrawn – equivalent to around £130 today. Now fifty years later we’re seeing this note transform as our payments landscape develops and evolves and the pace of change within the industry continues to accelerate.