Barbados will release its first polymer banknotes in December

The Central Bank of Barbados announced on May 4 that a new series of banknotes, and the country’s first to be made of polymer rather than paper, will be introduced on December 5.

The bank’s statement on its website was a cursory 61 words in a paragraph. Below, however, was a link to a 58-minute YouTube video in the form of a talk show with a moderator, audience and representatives from the bank and printer, De La Rue. Barbados today offered a more traditional printed presentation.

The new issues retain the same general themes as the current notes in the series which began in 2013. But they have been radically transformed to make them, as Governor Cleviston Haynes put it, “harder to reproduce but easier to authenticate.” “. The old notes will continue to circulate.

The six notes are denominated $2, $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100. They are printed for the first time in the currently fashionable vertical format and have improved, larger portraits on the faces and larger, more detailed images on the backs. For example, on the $5 note, legendary West Indian cricketer Sir Frank Worrell is now depicted in a cricket uniform on the face, while the back also features a picture of him, batting crease (similar to the baseball batter’s box), which shows many more 3Ws Oval cricket pitches than before.

The vignette on the back of the $20 note shows the Parliament Building from a different perspective than before. As an added security feature, faded renderings of the $20, $50, and $100 back images are reproduced as holograms on the bottom of these notes.

Other security features include a small broken trident at the top right of each note that reveals the denomination when held against the light. Another broken trident lights up under ultraviolet light, along with highlighted lines of the national anthem on the back. An innovative feature is that when placed together in order with the $2, $5 and $10 notes on top and the $20, $50 and $100 notes below, a map of Barbados travels the tickets.

Even without the new notes, Barbados has a low incidence of counterfeiting. Just over 100 counterfeit banknotes were withdrawn from circulation in 2020, and in 2021 less than 60.

Even as it touts its new physical currency, the central bank is preparing for the fact that the technology will eventually replace at least some of the money in circulation. Haynes said at the event that even with digital payments, cash will still be used and it still accounts for around 10% of Barbados’ GNP. “Indeed,” he said, “promoting the increased use of alternative forms of payment is a crucial part of our purpose as an institution. We have challenged our financial institutions to join us in this adventure, ensuring the availability of cost-effective payment methods in the modern age.

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