Ulster Bank to produce new plastic £5 and £10 notes

Ulster Bank notes
Image caption,
The designs of the existing Ulster Bank notes have been in circulation for 40 years

Ulster Bank is to introduce plastic £5 and £10 notes in Northern Ireland.

The notes, which will replace designs that have been in circulation for 40 years, will be released in 2019.

The bank said they will include "advanced security features" and their designs will be unveiled in the coming months.

All four Northern Ireland banks print their own money, a tradition stretching back to the early 19th Century.

Ulster Bank's senior brand manager Lita Notte said it is "an important part of our business heritage and the economy of Northern Ireland".

'Cost effective'

The new banknotes feature designs on the theme "living in nature", influenced by a panel of historians, botanists, artists, architects and members of the public.

"The notes are in the final stages of their design phase," Ms Notte said.

Image source, PA
Image caption,
Polymer banknotes are said to be cleaner, safer and stronger than their paper counterparts

"They are a unique demonstration of what matters to those who live and work here in Northern Ireland."

Earlier this year, Ulster Bank said that plastic notes will "probably be more cost-effective" than paper currency.

They are said by the Bank of England to be cleaner, safer and stronger than paper notes.

Help to adapt

Last year, the Bank of England released its first polymer note but the first plastic £5 had been introduced 17 years previously in Northern Ireland by Northern Bank.

Ulster Bank said it will engage with retailers to help them adapt to the new polymer notes.

There is about £2.5bn worth of Northern Ireland banknotes in circulation and Ulster Bank has been producing notes for 181 years.

Existing Ulster Bank £5 and £10 notes will remain in circulation until 2019, when they will be removed.