Taking note of the new 5 pound notes: some first impressions

28/10/2016Written by Mike Taylor

Last month the new 5 pound note came in to circulation, with the new 10 and 20 pound notes being released over the next couple of years. The new note is made from plastic (or polymer) to give it’s correct name, meaning that it is smoother to the touch, and makes it easier to detect any markings on the note.

I asked some of my colleagues what they felt about the new note. Sighted and blind colleagues shared my view that the note feels very much like a receipt, and in the past month I admit that I have confused the note for a receipt while making a purchase. I learned from another colleague that the notes are in circulation in other countries, and there are plans to help blind people to identify the notes easily as more are introduced. So I think it’s correct to assume that it will take time to get to grips with the notes, but it will come with practise.

Why are the new notes being introduced?

The new notes are being produced to make them more secure and make them less likely to become damaged, while having a smoother design so that tactile markings are easier to identify. According to various websites such as the Bank of England, tactile markings will be included for future polymer notes to enable blind or low vision users to easily tell the difference between each note.

To learn more about future development of currency, and how they can be easily identified visit: The Bank of England FAQ’s page (external website.)