The new $20s, $50s and $100s will start circulating from May 16. This will be the first day that banks and retailers can use the new $20, $50 and $100 banknotes as change or dispense from their ATMs, branches, or shops. The smaller denominations, $5 and $10, began circulating during October last year.
The old notes will remain in circulation and will be replaced with new ones as they pass through the cash handling process. The Reserve Bank anticipates it will take up to 18 months for all the old notes to be replaced.
Reserve Bank governor Graeme Wheeler says the new notes include sophisticated anti-counterfeiting technology.
“Global banknote technology has advanced to a state where sophisticated design can be incorporated into a security feature to make the banknote both hard to counterfeit and visually appealing,” he says.
Each of the new ‘Series 7’ banknotes features the same four main security features to guard against counterfeiting: holographic window, colour-changing bird, puzzle number and raised ink.
The Reserve Bank’s guidelines for banks and retailers says the new notes are the same size as the Series 6 notes and continue to be made from flexible plastic, meaning they will handle the same way.
Its handling guide for retailers recommends retailers ‘feel, look and tilt’ their banknote to check if it’s genuine:
Feel: A real note should have a distinctive polymer feel, and have a textured surface due to the raised ink.
Look: Notes should sport a transparent window filled with metallic details and a ‘puzzle’ feature which should form a complete number when the note is held up to the light.
Tilt: Genuine banknotes have a detailed metallic feature which should change colour when the note is tilted. A bright, shining bar should move within the silhouette of a bird on the front of the banknote. An embossed number should also become visible.
For those who remain unconvinced, the new notes also boast a fluorescent square on the front which turns bright green under ultraviolet light, and many bands of microtext.
The Reserve Bank recommends that retailers who are presented with a note they suspect is counterfeit should politely refuse to accept it and report the incident to the police. If the note has already been accepted, they should store it safely in a bag or envelope, handle it as little as possible, record all relevant details and pass it on to the police as soon as possible.