England's new plastic £10 banknote: Why is polymer better than paper?

  • 18 July 2017
Image copyright BANK OF ENGLAND

The Bank of England has revealed the final design for the new £10 note.

The new banknote features the author Jane Austen and will be printed on a thin plastic called polymer.

It follows the release of the new £5, which was the first Bank of England note to be made out of polymer.

It is also the first Bank of England note to include a feature to help people who have problems with their vision. The note has a series of raised dots in the top left-hand corner to help people identify it.

Why does it feature Jane Austen?

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The new £10 note will feature the face of Jane Austen

The £10 note will feature a portrait of the author Jane Austen who is known for novels such as Pride and Prejudice.

The note is being launched on the day of the 200th anniversary of her death.

It will be the only English banknote to feature a woman, other than the Queen.

What is polymer?

Polymer banknotes are made from a very thin, flexible, see-through plastic film, with the design printed on special layers of ink on the front and back.

Because the main material is see-through, the design can include clear spots that are like little windows you can look straight through.

More than 20 countries around the world use polymer banknotes - they include Scotland, Australia, New Zealand and Canada.

Image copyright BANK OF ENGLAND

Why is polymer better than paper?

The Bank of England says that polymer banknotes are better than paper, because they are:

Cleaner: Shiny plastic doesn't get wet and dirty like paper.

More secure: Features like the see-through windows are difficult to copy, so it's harder for criminals to make fake notes.

Longer lasting: Plastic won't tear as easily as paper, so the notes should last longer.

They're even expected to survive if they accidentally go in the washing machine, although they'd melt under extreme heat.

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