Scotland business

New Bank of Scotland plastic £5 note enters circulation

Finance Secretary Derek Mackay and Bank of Scotland treasurer Philip Grant with mock-up of new £5 note Image copyright Handout
Image caption Finance Secretary Derek Mackay and BoS treasurer Philip Grant hold a mock-up of the new plastic note

The Bank of Scotland's first plastic banknote intended for general circulation is set to be issued.

The new polymer £5 note, which is slightly smaller than its paper predecessor, will be available in branches before becoming more widely available across Scotland.

It continues to feature Sir Walter Scott and The Mound on the front, and a bridge theme on the back.

All existing paper Bank of Scotland £5 notes will be gradually withdrawn.

However, those that remain in circulation will continue to be accepted at shops, banks and cash payment machines.

Bank of Scotland also plans to replace its £10 paper note with a polymer version next year.

The new, plastic material is said to be cleaner and more resilient to being crumpled and spilled on.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Bank of England governor Mark Carney recently showed off the bank's new £5 plastic note featuring Winston Churchill

In September, the Bank of England released new £5 plastic notes featuring Winston Churchill on the back.

It was the first time a polymer note had been circulated by the Bank of England, but other parts of the UK have already been using the material.


What is polymer?

Polymer banknotes are made from a very thin, flexible, see-through plastic film, with the design printed on special layers of ink on the front and back.

Because the main material is see-through, the design can include clear spots that are like little windows you can look straight through.

More than 20 countries around the world already use polymer banknotes - they include Scotland, Australia, New Zealand and Canada.


Image copyright CYBG

Last year the Clydesdale Bank brought a fully plastic note into circulation in the UK for the first time with a limited commemorative edition £5 note.

As of last week, it entered into full circulation, and has begun to replace the current paper version.

The note features Scottish engineering pioneer and entrepreneur Sir William Arrol on the front, along with the Forth Bridge and the Titan Crane.

The reverse shows several images of the Forth Bridge.

Image copyright RBS
Image caption The new RBS £5 polymer note is due to enter circulation later this month

Royal Bank of Scotland's new £5 plastic note is due to enter circulation on 27 October.

It will feature Scottish novelist and poet Nan Shepherd.

Scientist Mary Somerville has already been selected for the bank's planned £10 polymer note, which is due to enter into circulation next year.

They will be the first women to appear on the bank's main issue notes.

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