Britain goes plastic with its most advanced banknote ever

Not the end of the world if you drop this fiver down the toilet...

Britain goes plastic with its most advanced banknote ever

Picture by: Dominic Lipinski / PA Wire/Press Association Images

The Bank of England's "New Fiver" arrived into circulation in the United Kingdom yesterday, with the £5 note being the first example of plastic being used in the history of British hard currency.

The note's use of polymer kickstarts the beginning of the end for the 320-history of cotton paper notes in Britain and offers far better durability. It is now not only waterproof and difficult to tear, but also harder to counterfeit.

Manufactured by banknote maker De La Rue, it bears the image of Winston Churchill alongside his quote:

"I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat."

The other side features Queen Elizabeth II.

Britain joins over 30 other countries already using plastic banknotes, including Australia (who adopted them in 1988), New Zealand and Singapore.

A £10 note will arrive in 2017.

It was reported some months back that British shoppers – particularly the elderly – could end up unwittingly paying twice as much due to the fact plastic notes can stick together. 

A Bank of England Q&A sheet stated:

"Brand new polymer notes can sometimes stick together, but this effect is short-lived once in use."

Economist Justin Urquhart Stewart told the Telegraph earlier this year:

The move to plastic is a waste of time because soon most people won't be using notes anyway, so frankly, the Bank of England ought to think again.