Here is what the new notes will look like:
The Bank of England could introduce new plastic banknotes from 2016 onwards.
The smaller, wipe-clean plastic banknotes would match currency across the world.
The Bank, which has spent three years studying the impacts of a change from cotton paper, says that the new polymer notes stay cleaner, are more secure and should even survive a spell in the washing machine.
The switch could start with the new £5 note, featuring Sir Winston Churchill, with the £10 note to follow.
The Bank has organized a roadshow to gauge public opinion across the UK over the next two months before coming to a final decision in December.
The Bank believes the new notes would be:
- Cleaner, as they resist dirt and moisture. For example, red wine can be wiped off but would stain the current paper notes.
- More durable, as they last for 2.5 times longer than paper banknotes. However, they would still shrink under extreme heat - such as being put under an iron.
- Secure, because they could include more sophisticated anti-counterfeiting techniques. New Zealand reported a big fall in reported counterfeits after introducing polymer notes.