The first cash machines in England and Wales have been loaded with the new ‘polymer’ plastic bank notes in the biggest cash revolution since decimalisation in 1971.
Armoured vans collected £2bn worth of the new money from the Bank of England’s cash centres in Debden, Essex and Leeds and delivered them to more than thirty high security vaults across the country to begin distribution to the High Street banks this morning, Tuesday 13th Septbember.
The notes have the Queen on one side and Winston Churchill on the other and are made out of a thin, flexible plastic material. They are 15% smaller than the current paper £5 note.
Initially it is just the £5 note that is changing with a new £10 note due to be in circulation next summer and the new £20 won’t be seen until 2020.
The Bank of England estimates that half of all existin stock of paper £5 notes will have been withdrawn from circulation by the end of the year. The old notes will cease to be legal tender from May 2017.