Plastic Currency – A Growing Trend

During the hot summer months in Bucharest you may have noticed that your pockets are leaking… or for that matter “sweating”. Is it a coincidence that these moisture marks seem to be directly in line with the wad of folded up cash you have jammed in your side pocket? Not at all. This is one of the many benefits of plastic money. So why is it that over 3 billion polymer based bank notes are now being used in over 22 countries around the globe? One word; Security. As you sit here reading this article, be sure that somewhere around the world in the privacy of someone’s home, a laser printer is humming as it turns out some of Photoshop’s best when it comes to counterfeit currency. Consider that there are so many sources for various types, textures, and weights of papers out there, that, when combined with the magic of desktop publishing, one can replicate a great copy of nearly any paper-based currency.

In the 1980s Australia based company CSIRO, a subsidiary of the Reserve Bank of Australia, began work to improve the durability and security of Australia’s currency. The result was the World’s first (modern day) “plastic” banknote. As such, polymer notes have replaced paper notes in Australia, and Australia leads the world in polymer banknote technology. It is these systems and techniques that have spread rapidly across the globe, reaching of course Romania, and just recently such “hole in the wall” places as the Dominican Republic.

Pull out one of your Romanian banknotes and take a look at some of the security features:

“Clearly” you can see the transparent window. See the face value of the note embedded within?

Optically variable devices

Shadow Images

Heavily embossed printing

Use of metallic, metameric, and metachromatic inks.

As a side benefit, these polymer notes will also last nearly five times longer than their “paper” predecessors. At the end of what is considered their useful life, these plastic notes are shredded and recycled. The cost for doing such is drastically less than that of recycling and re-printing paper notes.