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It's actually pretty amazing how quickly paper money goes bad. I guess it shouldn't be; I mean, it is essentially paper. But if you ever stop to think about the replacement costs of it, getting rid of the dollar bill and replacing it with a coin seems like a no-brainer. Here in Europe we have Euro coins up to EU5, though the fivers aren't widely circulated. But we all carry EU1 and EU2 coins every day.

Now Britain is considering moving to plastic currency. Sounds cheesy, but probably makes sense from a durability standpoint (although I could see counterfeiting plastic notes becoming a huge problem with the surge in 3D printers). Several countries already use plastic currency, and the Australian $5 note survives over three years versus the average six-month lifespan of a British PS5 note.

Between 2003 and 2011 the Bank of England received claims for bank notes destroyed through washing totalling PS747,000, and PS8.625m for fire or flood damage money.


It also received claims for PS946,000 for notes that had been eaten or chewed.

A million pounds worth of notes that had been eaten or chewed? I know British food is terrible, but c'mon man.

Anyway, if you think vending machines are a hassle now, imagine having a plastic note jammed in the bill receiver. You ain't getting those Cheetos.

So what do you guys think? Plastic money a good idea? Or does it make better sense to go heavier into coinage? Britain already has a PS5 coin, so I'm not sure what the benefit to having a PS5 note is anyway.

I'd also love to hear from any Aussie monkeys. What is the plastic money like? Is it as thick as the paper money, or does it take up more space in your billfold? Genuinely curious about this.

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Comments (19)

  • Unforseen's picture

    Canada is also moving to plastic. My only beef with it is that they stick to each other more than paper. And the queen has a frown in every note I've seen.

    Other than that if its cost beneficial, durable, and safer then I'm all up for it.

  • GoodBread's picture

    5 euro coins? First time I ever heard that, apparently there are some commemorative 5 euro coins out there.

    Anyhow I'd rather see plastic than more coins, there's just no way coins can go into my money clip.

  • wilder's picture

    Eddie, Aussie checking in, I think our notes are great. They can go through the washing machine and they're still perfect. Very thin (maybe slightly thicker but not noticeably so) so don't worry about that, also similar to the Swiss franc you can have colourful and vibrant notes.

    Also about your vending machines point I think plastic notes are actually easier because of the durability of the notes they don't crease as much, they're a lot stiffer if you get me.

    A side fact on our notes we have a transparent "window" with an optically variable image of Captain James Cook as a security feature, if you were cut up the note and just keep the window you can take them to a bank and they will swap it for legal tender. I believe that because of that it makes forging the notes extremely hard.

  • In reply to wilder
    Edmundo Braverman's picture

    wilder:
    A side fact on our notes we have a transparent "window" with an optically variable image of Captain James Cook as a security feature, if you were cut up the note and just keep the window you can take them to a bank and they will swap it for legal tender. I believe that because of that it makes forging the notes extremely hard.

    Baller. Britain needs to get to work on a Francis Drake window, like, NOW.

  • BTbanker's picture

    Why not just get rid of paper money altogether? Amex practically pays me to use their card. It would be irresponsible for me to use cash.

  • In reply to BTbanker
    ladubs111's picture

    BTbanker:
    Why not just get rid of paper money altogether? Amex practically pays me to use their card. It would be irresponsible for me to use cash.

    Amex pays you at the expense of the merchants. Charge merchants 2.75% or so, give customers 1% back and pocket 1.75% of the fee. The actual rates are different but was just giving you an example.

  • In reply to BTbanker
    crackjack's picture

    BTbanker:
    Why not just get rid of paper money altogether? Amex practically pays me to use their card. It would be irresponsible for me to use cash.

    ^This.

    Cash nowadays is too inefficient. The only time I carry cash is when some event causes me to carry cash (such as selling something via Craigslist). Other than that I use a credit card. I know alot of people would whine if cash went away, but a cashless society is looking more and more like the future. Hell, I barely use checks as it is. Using a credit card is instant, I don't have to fiddle with change, I don't have to worry as much about it getting stolen (since the bank will reverse erroneous charges), and since I pay on time every month, I'm not charged interest. It's a win-win for me personally.

    As to the topic though, using something other than paper (or the cotton mesh in the cash of US cash) is probably a good idea, if they plan on sticking with physical currency. I do think larger coinage is a smart idea too, though the adoption by Americans is probably unlikely. Look at the usage history of the $1 coins. I cannot think of a time where I saw one being used in a real life situation. I do have rolls of them collected though!

  • junkbondswap's picture

    Men make all of the money and all of the decisions in this country so I do not see it happening here. Increasing the usage of coinage in the US is a ridiculous concept because men do not like to carry change. Coins are difficult to carry, store, and organize relative to the ease of placing bills in your wallet, throwing a rubber band around your wad of cash, or simply stacking racks on racks on racks like most of us do. I really only carry around cash for the pure effects of making it rain. Even though paper and plastic fall at the same rate of gravity, the plastic just doesnt have the same effect so I am also against plastic money. Its all about credit card points anyways.

  • damngringo's picture

    I've never seen a PS5 coin in use, they are memorabilia. PS2 - yep.

    Hong Kong has plastic notes, they are really cool and unpleasant to chew.

  • In reply to ladubs111
    BTbanker's picture

    ladubs111:
    BTbanker:
    Why not just get rid of paper money altogether? Amex practically pays me to use their card. It would be irresponsible for me to use cash.

    Amex pays you at the expense of the merchants. Charge merchants 2.75% or so, give customers 1% back and pocket 1.75% of the fee. The actual rates are different but was just giving you an example.


    Right, and I spend money at the merchants, so everyone wins. I was just saying the rewards I get totally justifies the annual fee I pay for the card.
  • In reply to BTbanker
    ladubs111's picture

    BTbanker:
    ladubs111:
    BTbanker:
    Why not just get rid of paper money altogether? Amex practically pays me to use their card. It would be irresponsible for me to use cash.

    Amex pays you at the expense of the merchants. Charge merchants 2.75% or so, give customers 1% back and pocket 1.75% of the fee. The actual rates are different but was just giving you an example.


    Right, and I spend money at the merchants, so everyone wins. I was just saying the rewards I get totally justifies the annual fee I pay for the card.

    Ya I know what you mean. But just saying how disgruntled merchants are about them fees, hence the class-lawsuit that's finally close to closing between credit card networks and merchants.

  • In reply to BTbanker
    808's picture

    BTbanker:
    Why not just get rid of paper money altogether? Amex practically pays me to use their card. It would be irresponsible for me to use cash.

    It'll never happen because electronic money is traceable, and people will always want to make purchases that can't be traced.

  • TNA's picture

    I am sure the government would love a cashless society. Track all of your purchases, be able to tax everything.

    I'd support plastic currency, just no damn coins. But think of the logistics with that. Vending machines, money counters at banks, ATM's. Lot of retrofitting. The current rag we use now is decent. Just don't see a big push for this.

  • mehtal's picture

    Edmundo Braverman:
    I could see counterfeiting plastic notes becoming a huge problem with the surge in 3D printers.

    This has more to do with my general gripes with the 3D printing world but it's verrryyy doubtful that anyone will be making convincing fakes in the next decade or two. Longer if the plastic isn't a thermoplastic and/or can't be conjugated to be a UV resin.

    Otherwise, I'm on board with the credit card/digital money crowd. Yeah, it'd be trackable but that's another argument. The only thing I use cash for is the occasional food truck meal or ethnic restaurant that refuses to take credit. When it comes to friends, I use something like venmo.

  • mehtal's picture

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  • olafenizer's picture