The first new plastic £5 notes have been unveiled and will be issued by the Bank of England later this year.
But why are we changing them, what do they look like and who will they feature?
The Bank of England’s governor Mark Carney said at the launch of the new £5 note:
These notes will stand the test of time.
Polymer marks a major innovation – it’s cleaner, safer and stronger.
It’s also going to look very different. Here’s everything you need to know:
What will the new fiver look like?
The newer, cooler, water resistant fiver will feature former Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill as the non-royal face, replacing prison reformer Elizabeth Fry, who sits on the current £5 note.
Why him? The Bank of England said that it seeks to celebrate individuals ‘that have shaped British thought, innovation, leadership, values and society’ on its notes, and Sir Winston Churchill seemed to fit the bill – being possibly the most famous British leader.
The back of the note will feature Churchill along with a view of the palace of Westminster and Big Ben from the south bank of the Thames looking across Westminster Bridge – or, more simply, basically where the London Eye is.
The clock’s hands are at 3 o’clock – the time on 13 May 1940 Churchill made his famous ‘I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat’ speech in the House of Commons.
Why is the new fiver plastic?
Following suit of countries like Canada and Australia, the new plastic notes will be made out of polymer instead of the current cotton. Basically, the new plastic notes are resistant to dirt and moisture, so they stay cleaner for longer than paper banknotes.
They are also more secure and will provide enhanced counterfeit resilience, and are more durable than the current paper ones, so they will increase the quality of banknotes in circulation.
The new notes cost around 7p each to print, while costing the Bank of England £70 million to develop.
When will they be released?
You’ll be able to get your hands on the new fiver when they’re issued on September 13 – when about 44 million of the notes will come into circulation, The Mirror reports.
Can I keep using paper fivers?
Yes – for now. After September 13, paper £5 notes will gradually be withdrawn from circulation as they are banked by businesses and shops, and eventually, they’ll stop being legal tender all together.
As of May 2017, you will need to exchange paper £5 notes at the Bank of England. And eventually, £10 and £20 notes will follow suit – being smaller and lighter than the ones currently in circulation.