November 18, 2011
Despite many of us relying on plastic credit and debit cards to make the majority of our daily purchases, the idea of saying goodbye to paper money seems ludicrous. That's just what the Bank of Canada is planning to do, and the first in an all-new line of plastic money will begin rolling out to consumers this month. The bills — made of a single piece of polymer — boast a longer life than paper notes, as well as some advanced security features to keep counterfeiters scratching their heads.
The new, high-tech currency includes two transparent windows that give the bills a strikingly futuristic appearance. The first window — in the shape of a maple leaf with a frosted outline — includes a unique anti-counterfeit feature: When looking through the window at a single light source, a ring of text appears, verifying the value of the note.
The second, larger window includes a metallic portrait that mimics the face in the center of the bill. The transparent plastic beneath the smaller portrait is decorated with various digits, and below that is a large picture of a building, carrying a metallic sheen similar to the face above. When tilted, both the face and the building show off a colorful, holographic effect. These features are duplicated on the back of the note as well.
The smooth plastic of the bill is dotted with raised ink which serves as an additional security feature. The edges of the large portrait and the text on each note can be felt when moving your finger across them. But the high-quality polymer wasn't just chosen for its ability to thwart counterfeiters; The plastic is estimated to last twice as long as traditional paper bills, meaning the cost of having to print new notes should steadily decline over time.
Canada's new money will begin entering circulation later this month, starting with the $100 note. A $50 version will arrive around March of 2012, and $20, $10, and $5 bills will get their makeover sometime in 2013. Check out the video above for an up-close-and-personal look at the futuristic currency.