As we bizarrely make the move towards paper for train tickets, the era of plastic money is about to begin. The Bank of England today revealed its first ever plastic banknote, which will go into circulation in September.
The new £5 note is made from polymer, a transparent plastic film, and features Sir Winston Churchill’s happy little face with the Houses of Parliament behind him. It’s supposed to be more hard-wearing, secure and environmentally-friendly (because it should last for five years instead of 18 months, duh) than the paper fiver, though it won’t survive the steaming hot touch of an iron. So you shouldn’t iron one, unless you’ve got money to… well, melt, I guess is the correct word now.
It'll also be easy to wipe clean and, depending on stiffness, should serve as the perfect cocaine straw. Ideal for getting you through late nights at the office.
As the new fiver’s 15% smaller than the current one, it’s going to cost shops and banks £236 million (which would translate to 47,200,000 fivers) to replace or modify their ATMs, vending machines and self-service machines. A tenner with Jane Austen's face is coming out next year, with a JMW Turner-marked £20 not on its way in 2020. [Guardian]