Slick new $50 polymer bill ready to line wallets
If you liked the slick feel of the $100 bill, just wait until you get your hands on the $50.
The Bank of Canada is tossing a new polymer bank note into circulation Monday, the latest instalment in the nation's shift to plastic currency.
Speaking at a Quebec news conference, BoC governor Mark Carney said the bill was produced with the help of physicists, chemists and engineers.
"The bank notes themselves have crossed a technological frontier. There's simply no other currency like it," he told reporters.
Though the $50 polymer bill is half the value of its predecessor, it's the first plastic bill that'll be available in automatic banking machines.
That means Canadians are free to bypass the bank teller this time around and withdraw the new note outside of their branch's office hours.
A whimsical illustration on the $50 note depicts the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Amundsen, an image intended to highlight the nation's arctic research efforts.
Traditionalists need not fret though, a headshot of three-term Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King remains on the bill as well.
Like each bill in the series, the new $50 is expected to be waxy and smooth to the touch. That feel comes from the durable Australian-produced polymer used to make the note, a material that will soon replace the cotton paper blend used in existing currency.
While the new polymer bills certainly look sharper and more modern than their paper predecessors, the BoC has said that they were created to battle counterfeiters.
Shelly Glover, a Conservative MP from Manitoba, reiterated this at Monday's circulation ceremony where she referred to the $50 notes as an important part of the government's "ongoing fight" against counterfeiting.
"Crimes that affect the economy pose a serious threat," said Glover, after noting her work as a former police officer with more than 19 years of service.
She said the Bank of Canada has been working with the RCMP, banking insiders and retailers to protect the polymer bill series from counterfeiters.
All of the new notes will feature holographic security areas, raised ink, hidden numbers and metallic images to defend against bogus bill makers -- though the practice of producing counterfeit bills has declined in recent years.
Upon its release late last year, Canadians seized the chance to put the $100 polymer bill through its paces. Amateur tests uploaded to YouTube reveal that the bill isn't ruined by crumpling, biting or liquid droplets but appears to rip easily if there's an existing cut in it.
The BoC has acknowledged this weakness, but it isn't expected to be corrected in the new $50 note, which is made out of the same material as its forerunner.
The high-tech bills have also proved to be frustrating for small business owners who say the new design makes the currency undetectable in some counters and ATMs.
Smaller denominations in the polymer series -- $20, $10 and $5 -- are expected to be released by the end of 2013.