What small businesses should know about the new polymer 5 pound note

The new five pound notes, made of a flexible thin plastic, have gone into circulation this week. While many news outlets seem most interested in dipping them in various foods and drinks to see how they fare, here are a few things small businesses should know.

They tend to stick together

If you deal with cash on a regular basis this is an important one to keep in mind. The fact that the notes stick together means that customers could accidentally hand you two at once, or you could hand them two accidentally.

The Bank of England have said that this stickiness fades quickly once the notes are in circulation, but for the moment, at least, you’ll want to keep an eye on them.

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They’re smaller than the current fiver

The new five pound notes are 15 per cent smaller than the ones currently in circulation. This may not seem like much but it could cause difficulties if your business uses any machines that process notes, such as ATMs, ticket machines or desktop counters.

Most machines will just need a software update, but you’ll have to contact your supplier to find out exactly what you’ll need to do to ensure they continue to function properly.

They have added security features

The polymer notes have updated anti-counterfeit measures, including a see-through window featuring a portrait of the queen and a foil picture of Big Ben. Parts of the note will also change colour slightly when tilted in the light, from purple to green, and there’s a holographic foil patch at the bottom.

It’s important to make sure that you and anyone you employ who handles cash is aware of what the new polymer banknotes look like and how to check for counterfeits. You can check out these videos released by the Bank of England demonstrating the new fiver.

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