When did the history of polymer bank notes begin?

         It is true that with the advent of paper currency, banking became easier. But as soon as these notes entered circulation, their duplicates too, started growing in number.

         Such fake currencies or counterfeit notes pose one of the biggest challenges to our financial sector. Many steps were taken to put an end to this malpractice.

          One such was initiated by countries like Costa Rica and Haiti in 1983 by introducing plastic currency notes. However, the attempt failed, and the earliest notes had a lot of problems including ink wearing off. A decade later, the idea of plastic notes came up again. This time, it was the Reserve Bank of Australia or RBA that re-launched the ‘polymer notes’ after much research.

           Introduced in 1996, the new series of polymer notes had innovative security features that resisted forgery. It was considered the most secure form of currency in the world, and thus totally replaced paper bank notes in the country.

           Not just that, the notes were credited with being environment friendly and long lasting too.

           Since this success, many countries including Canada, New Zealand, Brunei, Papua New Guinea, Singapore and Kuwait adopted the idea of polymer notes. The latest in the list are countries like the UK, Chile, and Nepal.

           In 2005, Bulgaria became the first country to produce a hybrid paper-polymer bank note.