1:13pm

Tue June 21, 2011
The Two-Way

Canada Introduces New, Plastic Cash

The Bank of Canada introduced brand new polymer bills, yesterday. As the Toronto Sun puts it, the move is designed to use high-tech materials to "thwart counterfeiters." The notes, which have two see-through windows, are also cheaper to make and last about 2 1/2 times longer than paper money.

Here's a short video from the Bank of Canada showing off the money:

The Globe and Mail has put together a list of facts about synthetic money. Among the highlights: Plastic money dates back to the early 1980s, when it was used in Costa Rica and Haiti. Other countries like Honduras, Ecuador and El Salvador also used them in the '80s.

But here's our favorite: Unlike paper money, plastic bills don't curl or fray at the corners, so "it causes about 40 percent fewer jams in automated teller machines and bill-counting devices."

Alas, we haven't found any word on how well the bills would survive a wash-and-dry cycle.

The Sun adds that the $100 bills will be issued in November; the $50 bills in March of 2012 and the new $20 bills will be introduced late next year.

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.