The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank is preparing to release the new EC polymer bank notes.
The polymer notes will co-circulate with the currently existing paper notes. Circulation will commence with the new $50 bill in June, followed by the $100, $20 and $10 banknotes in August and September.
Acting Director in the Currency Management Department of the ECCB, Rosbert Humphrey explained that the polymer bank notes are a more durable medium of exchange that are expected to outlast the paper notes.
“We don’t want persons to crumple the bank notes or crisp the bank notes,” said Mr. Humphrey. “The bank notes have memory so those crisps to the bank notes can cause them to be unfit for circulation in quick time. We do not want persons to iron the bank notes either because, unlike the paper bank notes, these notes would be damaged.”
The polymer notes have an increased number of security features that will reduce their susceptibility to counterfeiting. Mr. Humphrey explained that a tangible feature was also added to make the notes user friendly to the visually impaired.
“The tactile features are some raised bumps on the notes. They form shapes, so that blind and visually impaired persons are able to feel them and know which notes are in their possession.”
Mr. Humphrey explained that there is a circle on the $5 bill, an X on the $10 bill, a rectangle on the $20 bill, a triangle on the $50 bill, and a square on the $100 bill.
“We recognize that in the Eastern Caribbean not many blind and visually impaired persons can read braille so it would be a disadvantage to them if we actually put braille on the banknotes because they won’t recognize what the features are, so we decide to put something that the blind and the visually impaired, and the general public can relate to.”
The ECCB will be the first Central Bank in the Caribbean to issue all notes in polymer material.