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The Almighty Buck Canada Technology

Canada Rolls Out Plastic Money 444

Posted by Soulskill
from the made-from-flattened-hockey-pucks dept.
markian writes "Canada is set to switch to new banknotes that last 2.5 times longer than paper money. High-tech features include metallic imagery in a transparent area, raised ink, transparent text, and hidden numbers. 'If you look through the frosted maple leaf emblem at a single-point light source and hold it close to your eye, you'll see a hidden circle of numbers that match the face value of the note.' The Bank of Canada has more information on the subject. Now if we can just get rid of the penny..."
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Canada Rolls Out Plastic Money

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  • Nothing new here (Score:5, Informative)

    by HappyClown (668699) on Tuesday June 21, 2011 @05:48PM (#36521212)
    Australia has had polymer banknotes [wikipedia.org] since 1988, and in fact it's an Australian company that will be supplying these notes to Canada. Polymer banknotes have been used to varying degrees in 27 countries prior to Canada.
    • by mark-t (151149)

      it's an Australian company that will be supplying these notes to Canada

      Please clarify your source for this. It was my understanding that these new bills are going to be produced entirely by the Canadian Mint.

      • Apologies, it seems it''s not the actual notes being supplied by an Australian company but the polypropylene substrate used in the manufacturing process. My source? The article itself.
        • by mark-t (151149)
          I hope you can respect that I was a little surprised by your previous wording, and could not figure out where you had seen it.
          • Yes sorry, my bad. Here's some more detail I found about the materials and manufacturing of these notes, taken from this PDF [polymernotes.org]

            "A contract for the supply of polymer material and associated security features was negotiated with Note Printing Australia (NPA), a wholly owned subsidiary of the Reserve Bank of Australia. The Bank has collaborated with the Reserve Bank to ensure that the supply of material and access to intellectual property are assured. The substrate itself will be supplied to NPA by the Australia

    • Or what about Mexico? It's not that far from Canada, and they've had plastic bills for years.

    • by Abreu (173023)

      We have those two here in Mexico for the $20 and $50 peso bills (the lowest paper denominations)

      They do not last a lot longer than the paper ones, they are more resistant when they are new, but if you get a tiny tear on it it will come apart in a second.

  • by nfras (313241) on Tuesday June 21, 2011 @05:52PM (#36521258)

    Came to Australia in 1998 and thought the polymer notes looked like Monopoly money. Having used it for a while it's so much better than the paper stuff. Hardly ever tears, is easy to see how much you have in your wallet just by opening it. Stands out from a wad of receipts.
    Whenever I have to go the US I hate having to use those crappy bits of toilet paper that feel like they been stuck to some homeless guy's arse since 1973.

    • Came to Australia in 1998

      1988, actually.

    • by Kittenman (971447)

      Whenever I have to go the US I hate having to use those crappy bits of toilet paper that feel like they been stuck to some homeless guy's arse since 1973.

      Nicely put

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      My only beef with them is that some idiots like to fold them 7 times to make them fit inside their purse. They then stay scrunched up when you put them in the till. I worked at a servo for a few years and I *HATED* those people. I also agree that US money is horrible, though the paper notes in Switzerland tend to be quite nice (I think the locals must iron them).

    • by ezzthetic (976321) on Tuesday June 21, 2011 @06:20PM (#36521590)
      There's a big problem with polymer notes that should have been forseen by the Mint. You can't light a cigar with a hundred dollar bill without passing out from the fumes.
    • by EEPROMS (889169)
      I remember when we had paper notes, one of the big problems ignoring tearing etc is that if you left a note in your pocket then put said bit of clothing in a washing machine you end up with a pile of paper mulch. With the new polymer notes this isn't an issue. I remember someone mentioning that the Australian reserve gained a few million a year thanks to people forgetting they have money in their pockets before they threw their clothes in the wash.
  • Some interesting suggestions for new US banknotes: Dollar ReDe$ign Project [posterous.com]

  • by TheRealQuestor (1750940) on Tuesday June 21, 2011 @05:53PM (#36521266)
    man I feel the pain. Costs like 1.6 cents [as of 2009 and according wikipedia 1.79 cents per penny last year] just to make one penny and they SUCK. 99% of the time I just tell whatever cashier/staff keep the pennies. Keeps em out of my pocket/change jar and might help the next bloke who is a penny short :)
    • ...one penny and they SUCK.

      A whole bunch of pennies in a sock is an awesome weapon.

    • by geekoid (135745)

      It cost 1.7 cents to make, but that's a one time cost. The penny is a penny hundreds of thousands of times.

      And getting rid of the penny will have some negative global effects on the value of the dollar. They market may very well see it as a devaluation. If it does, you're boned, and there is no way to know ahead of time.

      • Don't worry about 'printing' (or letting the fed magic them into existence) trillions that won't cause devaluation, worry about getting rid of the penny.

        We are boned, we just don't know when.

        The only hope we have is the Euro is even more boned (which is pretty much a given). Then capital flight from Europe might keep the dollar afloat, _might_.

      • The penny has a smaller purchasing power than the half-cent did when it was phased out...in the late 1800s.

        Honestly, competent financiers would see us ditching the penny as a step forward...we'd stop stamping out millions of them a year. Check that, four billion pennies were stamped in 2011. If pennies are so resilient why do we have to keep making so many?

        • Because of people like me that put them in a jar.
      • And getting rid of the penny will have some negative global effects on the value of the dollar. They market may very well see it as a devaluation. If it does, you're boned, and there is no way to know ahead of time.

        Fortunately, the market is usually smarter than a Slashdot poster. The rest of us have already realized that pennies are worthless wastes of time. A penny is what someone earning minimum wage collects for about four seconds work.

        The smallest Australian dollar (worth about the same as a Canadian or U.S. dollar) denomination is 5 cents; their 1 and 2 cent pieces were discontinued in 1991--without destroying their currency.

        While the euro includes 1 and 2 cent coins, Finland and the Netherlands officiall

    • by labnet (457441)

      Australia got rid of 1c and 2c coins 20 years ago.
      Hopefully the 5c will go as well some time.

  • Canada dumped the dollar bill in favor of coins of the same denomination. We talk about it in the US - just like we said back in the 60s that we would switch to the metric system - and never actually do it.
    • Dumped... quite literally! According to the Bank of Canada [bankofcanada.ca], worn out banknotes are put into landfill: "At the time of the study, the Bank of Canada had not chosen a specific end-of-life scenario for polymer bank notes. So, for the sake of modeling, the end-of-life treatment currently in use (landfill) for our cotton-based paper notes was assumed."

      I don't suppose anyone happens to know where? :)

      • by zill (1690130)

        worn out banknotes are put into landfill

        Do they shred them first? Or should I go get my shovel now?

    • A big advantage of $1 and $2 being bills is you can get away with carrying only a money clip. And a lot of wallets don't have coin pouches either.

      In Australia, where we have $1 and $2 coins, the coins add considerably to the thickness and weight of my wallet. And there are many vending machines that only accept coins, so you have to carry $5-$10 in change to be safe. With a $1 bill, vending machines would only need to accept notes, and should accept higher denominations too.

      • by c0lo (1497653)

        With a $1 bill, vending machines would only need to accept notes, and should accept higher denominations too.

        Street parking meters. Too many of them, won't happen soon.

      • With a $1 bill, vending machines would only need to accept notes, and should accept higher denominations too.

        I can tell you from experience that dollar bills and vending machines seldom get along well. I usually sort the $1 bills in my wallet by grade, in case I should find myself needing one for a vending machine, as wrinkled/torn/wet/ugly bills often don't go through the machines well.

        As an American who frequently crosses the Canadian border, I can tell you I find the loonies and toonies to be a superior way to manage small amounts of money. Of course I tend to do a lot of my purchases on plastic anyways,

    • by Pharmboy (216950)

      I do believe that all products in the USA are legally obligated to show weights, etc. using the metric system, and with few small town exceptions, in fact do so. All medical and scientific systems are 100% metric. All cars have "standard" and metric options for displays Celsius is problematic because the degrees are too large, thus not really a better system, and is actually separate from the metric system anyway, so I wouldn't count that fact.

      Day to day commerce and every day users in the USA just don't

      • by geekoid (135745)

        Yeah, we can switch now and industry would save money.
        However, you can thank Reagan for killing the program to get everyone switched. I mean, he had to cut something to hide his tax hike.

      • by iCEBaLM (34905) <{icebalm} {at} {icebalm.com}> on Tuesday June 21, 2011 @07:16PM (#36522158)

        Celsius is problematic because the degrees are too large, thus not really a better system, and is actually separate from the metric system anyway, so I wouldn't count that fact.

        Celsius is an official SI derived unit [wikipedia.org] of measurement for temperature, and therefore is part of the metric system.

      • by dryeo (100693)

        Metric system has had official status since 1866 in the States, http://lamar.colostate.edu/~hillger/laws/metric-act.html [colostate.edu] when it was hoped that shortly it would be used exclusively.
        Canada went metric in '73 and we still haven't finished. We buy food in pounds with the price per pound advertised in large numbers, Kilos in small numbers. You still buy an 8ft 2x4. I know my weight and height in imperial but not in metric. I think in terms of mpg for mileage. Of course we use imperial gallons so get better mile

      • by Suddenly_Dead (656421) on Tuesday June 21, 2011 @10:35PM (#36523604)

        Celsius is problematic because the degrees are too large, thus not really a better system, and is actually separate from the metric system anyway, so I wouldn't count that fact.

        Celsius is just an offset Kelvin scale (a 1 degree C temperature difference is the same as a 1 K difference); it's not that separate from metric / SI, and they're both used in some scientific fields (Conférence Générale des Poids et Mesures says that this is acceptable, so it's Official).

        And we've already had plenty of discussions about your other point on Slashdot: you use decimal numbers when you need more precision, and you get used to it, like any unit change.

      • Celsius is problematic because the degrees are too large

        I hate integers because the numbers are too far apart.

  • ... and thus a tool for the consolidation of wealth to those with the power to inflate, and the power to spend the newly inflated currency at pre-inflation prices.
  • Even though they've been around for years in Australia, this is the first I've heard of polymer notes. I tried looking through the Canadian info sites where they pumped how good it was for the environment, recyclable, holds up longer, yadda yadda . . . I missed where it showed how the notes held up against routine extremes (most notably for me, the clothes dryer . . .)

    As someone who has 1 in 5 dollars that are downey-fresh, how do they hold to the cotton dry cycle?

    • My last wallet went through the wash and dryer a number of times

      The (au) notes certainly held up significantly better than everything else in the wallet (bloody drivers license and library card)

    • by Annirak (181684)

      If your dryer gets over 130C, you've got bigger problems than melted money.

      Canada’s new notes are being printed on Guardian®, a biaxial-oriented polypropylene substrate manufactured by Securency International of Australia.

      refs: banknote design [bankofcanada.ca]
      Polypropylene properties [wikipedia.org]

    • by snookums (48954)

      I think they go through a regular dryer just fine. I seem to recall putting some through mine without a problem. At higher temperatures they shrink like those cereal-box novelties. I have a friend with a miniature $5 note that was in the pocket when he ironed his shirt.

      The most annoying tendency is for the notes not to lie flat. The first generation of $5 notes were particularly bad. I was working in retail just after they were introduced and it was a real chore to keep them from curling up in the till and

  • The notes are not yet rolled out. They are to be rolled out later this year, November [chrisd.ca] to be exact.

  • It's become more and more common for me to go days and weeks with no cash whatsoever in my pocket. Credit and Debit will cover nearly everything that I need or want,

    I now look back fondly on the days of yore when I would have been embarrassed to use a card to pay for a cup of coffee. Now it's the norm, even though I know that I've pretty much wiped out the retailer profit margin with service charges. (Admittedly at Starbucks or McDonalds that's a selling point...)
    • by Sir_Sri (199544)

      what about your own service charges? I'm in canada, and more than a handful of transactions in a month and they want to start dinging me money to use debit or a credit card.

      I also don't particularly like the idea that both my spending history is available for minor stuff, and that a power or networking failure is going to prevent me buying lunch. I don't particularly like my debit or credit card being swiped here there and everywhere, because the more you use it, the more likely someone is going to clone i

      • by mark-t (151149)
        Switch banks. Be sure to tell them the reason when you do. If enough people leave for that reason, they will change their policies simply to remain competitive.
      • by denobug (753200)

        what about your own service charges? I'm in canada, and more than a handful of transactions in a month and they want to start dinging me money to use debit or a credit card.

        In US we don't have service charge for the most part, although some small shops try to enforce minimum to use the credit card for a transaction.

      • by geekoid (135745)

        I've never even heard of that. I suspect American would go ape shit is the banks here started doing that.

        A charge every time I use my card? Insanity.

    • by rtaylor (70602)

      Fees might be higher but employee theft, incorrect change issues, robbery, till counts, reduces trips to the bank for rolls of coin, insurance costs, etc. are all easier and reduces costs significantly.

      Over the long haul, particularly if you consolidate transactions (swipe card 10 times over a week, company makes a single transaction for the total), cards are quite a bit cheaper. Particularly if you can eliminate cash entirely, hook directly into accounting, and ditch the employee taking the order by replac

      • by geekoid (135745)

        The problem with consolidation is there isn't verification. So someone could swipe an invalid card and you wouldn't not it until you did the consolidation.

        We had similar problem here in Oregon. The parking machines would bundle all the transaction and send them off at midnight. People knew about it and would use blanks or expired cards.

      • by thogard (43403)

        It is amazing how much it costs to deal with cash and how much more it cost to deal with coins. Australia has one and two dollar coins which are heavy, bulky coins. There are rumours that many banks keep a large part of "cash reserve" as coins in containers since they can't afford to ship them around and its cheaper to order new coins at the government's expense. A common sight in banks around closing time is the people who run restaurants going to collect brick sized packets of coins for change. The m

  • I personally don't see the appeal of getting rid of the penny. My guess is retailers and so forth will simply price things such that you'll always have to give slightly more so that they can get the extra nickel out of you instead of leaving it at a price where customers would be at an advantage. To those who say "so? it's just a nickel!", count to 100 and see how many times you said a multiple of 5. Adds up quick doesn't it?
    • by Michael Wardle (50363) <mikel AT mikelward DOT com> on Tuesday June 21, 2011 @06:19PM (#36521576) Homepage

      Doubtful. A lot of prices end in .99 not because that's the store's actual cost, but because apparently many customers think 4.99 is $4, not $5.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychological_pricing [wikipedia.org]

      Australia got rid of the 1c coin years ago. Prices that used to end in .99 now end in .95, not .00.

      • by Tolkien (664315)

        Doubtful. A lot of prices end in .99 not because that's the store's actual cost, but because apparently many customers think 4.99 is $4, not $5.

        Psychological pricing [wikipedia.org]

        I know about that, I've always wondered where companies find these foolish customers.

        Australia got rid of the 1c coin years ago. Prices that used to end in .99 now end in .95, not .00.

        Interesting, I didn't know that.

        • by b1keshr3dder (1427931) on Tuesday June 21, 2011 @07:37PM (#36522356)

          Australia got rid of the 1c coin years ago. Prices that used to end in .99 now end in .95, not .00.

          Actually its a little bit more complex than that in Australia. Prices that are not a multiple of the smallest coin are still allowed (ie any interger value for cents is OK). At the checkout the final_total_only is rounded (down to the nearest multiple of 5 cents for sales ending in 1c, 2c, 6c, 7c & up to the nearest multiple of 5 cents for sales ending in 3c, 4c, 8c, 9c; see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swedish_rounding [wikipedia.org], but only if cash is used for purchase. Electronic payments are charged at the exact total cost. IOW, very little difference to cost of most transactions, but fewer coins required (along with savings for pocket wear and coin production costs).

      • by geekoid (135745)

        yep. That's why I have taught my kids to round up. Now when the see a price in the store, they say, it's 5 bucks. They know the trick.

      • by aXis100 (690904) on Tuesday June 21, 2011 @07:33PM (#36522316)

        Prices in Australia still do end in .99, it's only the final total at the cash register that is rounded down to the nearest 5c.

      • by w0mprat (1317953)
        In New Zealand we got rid of the 5c coin in 2006. A lot of prices still end in .95 and .99 of course. If you pay by cash these are rounded down to .90c or in some cases up by swedish rounding http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swedish_rounding [wikipedia.org] varying between retailers of course.

        This means you inevitably pay slightly more or slightly less for a electronic transaction than paying by cash.
    • No. At least not necessarily so.

      If they do it in the same way as e.g. the (pre-Euro) Netherlands, the prices don't change at all. It's only rounded when you pay, and it's the total purchase amount that gets rounded up or down, not each item. So if you buy one carton of milk, it's $0.98, and you have to pay $1.00 -- thus they get 2 cents. But if you buy two, it's 1.96, and you pay $1.95 -- and you get a penny. So the most you can win or lose is two cents per store you visit, and even with clever pricing on t

    • by geekoid (135745)

      I suspect 9.99 would become 9.95.

    • Swedish rounding [wikipedia.org] is a reasonable solution for this. It is applied to the total cost of a single order and only applied to cash sales. Rounding up might still happen more often on average due to people buying single items but a (literally) penny pinching customer could also "game" the system by paying cash in the round down instances and by credit/debit card when the amount would otherwise be rounded up.

      Dropping 1 and 2c coins went down fairly well her in Australia from what I recall.
  • Slashdot hasn't posted it's daily Bitcoin story yet. If Canada switched to Bitcoin, that would be a story!
    • by geekoid (135745)

      If Canada switch to bitcoin is would serve to be on the front of /. ...and every other news organization.

  • See through money rocks.

  • I love travelling to countries with plastic notes. No worries about getting them wet (if you are at a beach, etc.) No tearing issues, they last longer... and they can be made from partial or fully recycled plastic. I would even be OK with coins eventually being modified to some sort of cheaper substance. I think we have all moved away from the days of needing to think our currency itself has value or importance. Hell, most of us use a small plastic rectangle for almost everything everyday.

  • by smash (1351)
    we switched here in australia about 22 years ago.

The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not "Eureka!" (I found it!) but "That's funny ..." -- Isaac Asimov

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