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Wednesday 22 January 2020
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Banknote printer: Polymer $100 difficult to duplicate

Central Bank Governor Alvin Hilaire looks at the features of the new polymer $100 bill at Central Bank on Wednesday December 11, 2019, along with De La Rue pre-sales technical director Dr Jacqui Thick and regional manager Gareth Evans. - Ayanna Kinsale
Central Bank Governor Alvin Hilaire looks at the features of the new polymer $100 bill at Central Bank on Wednesday December 11, 2019, along with De La Rue pre-sales technical director Dr Jacqui Thick and regional manager Gareth Evans. - Ayanna Kinsale

While it is impossible to stop people from making counterfeits, the new polymer $100 is impossible to duplicate because of four major features on the new note, said Gareth Evans, regional manager for De La Rue.

De La Rue, of the United Kingdom, the world’s largest commercial banknote printer, is the company that has produced TT’s banknotes for more than 50 years.

Evans was speaking on Wednesday at the Central Bank governor's press conference on key features of the new note, at the bank’s conference room, Port of Spain.

He said, “One thing that makes it more difficult is the clear window feature and the polymer. The polymer is more secure, and for that reason we want the public to focus on the clear window on the bill.

The window is on the top-left hand corner of the bill and can be seen from both sides, he said.

Evans said the next feature is the feel of the polymer.

“The first thing you do with the banknote is that you feel it, look at it, tilt it and check with magnifying tools for more features.”

He explained the banknote is smoother and has a distinctive feel. Importantly, on the reverse of the right bottom corner, there is a tactile feature – a series of dots that would allow people with visual impairment to recognise the denomination they are holding.

Another feature is the colours of the note.

“Once the banknote is under ultraviolet light and a magnifier, you will see that some areas of the note glow or look gold.

"The next feature is the darker-blue 100 appearing in the blue print, especially when you hold it up to the light.”

Evans explained that if the banknote is put under a magnifier, some areas which appears plain, actually have small letters and numbers.

He said many people questioned the use of polymer.

“The polymer (notes) are more durable and while the banknotes are not indestructible, they last much longer in circulation, which makes it more cost effective over time.

“The polymer banknote also has the traditional features (the bird of paradise, the national birds, Coat of Arms and a picture of the Central Bank), like the cotton banknote people are familiar with.”

Evans encouraged the public to learn about the features of the banknote.

He added, “I love the design and I think it’s bright, it is much more modern and feels better than the older note. We are very proud of it."

The new polymer note is a national security measure aimed at helping the fight against corruption, money laundering, tax evasion and counterfeiting. Central Bank governor Alvin Hilaire has said on December 31, old $100 bills in circulation will cease to be legal tender. The legal notice on the change, dated December 8, states January 1.

4 features of new $100 bill

The feel: Polymer notes feel smother than paper

* Run your fingers at the bottom corner of the note to feel the X or a cross. There are a series of dots embossed on the reverse of the note which allows the visually impaired and the blind to recognise the denomination they are holding.

Look: When you hold the note up to the light you will see:

* A clear window can be seen from the front and the back of the note

* The number 100 which is in the blue print is not visible when the note is flat.

Tilt – As you move the note around you will see:

* Areas with a shimmering gold ink. The gold shimmering ink is located over the clear window.

Check – Using an ultra-violet (UV) light and a magnifier

* If you look at the note under UV light you will see that some areas of the note glow

* If you look at the note under magnification, some areas that appear as plain print are in fact very small letters and numbers

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