Polymer Bank Notes
The Bank of England has introduced polymer bank notes - starting with a polymer £5 note on 13th September 2016 and a polymer £10 note on 14th September 2017.
A polymer £20 note will be introduced by 2020. There are currently no plans to produce a polymer £50 note.
In theory it is more difficult and costly for criminals to produce high quality polymer counterfeit notes but evidence form countries such as Canada and Australia where polymer notes have been in use for many years suggests that criminals will focus on higher value notes (eg the $50 note in Australia). In the UK we would expect counterfeiters to concentrate on producing fake £20 notes due to the increased cost of producing counterfeit polymer notes. However there have already been many reports of forged polymer £5 & £10 notes in circulation.
There are some additional security features available to check on polymer bank notes such as the see-through window but one of the most reliable and convenient security feature is the Ultra-Violet feature which can be quickly and easily checked with a UV note checker.
Money checker pens will not work on polymer notes because they are designed to react to starch found in most paper used for producing counterfeit paper notes.
We would recommend any retailers relying upon money checker pens to check for fake bank notes to consider purchasing UV note checkers. There will still be paper bank notes in circulation until 2020 but the pens will be of no use in detecting fake polymer notes. The pens are also far from 100% reliable in detecting fake paper bank notes - there is a simple process that many counterfeiters use to make their fake paper notes pass the test with the money checker pens. UV note checkers however are extremely reliable for detecting both fake paper and fake polymer bank notes.