Canada starts printing plastic banknotes


The Bank of Canada has started printing $ 100 banknotes made out of plastic. It is said to be the best developed and most secure banknote in the world. By the end of 2013 all of Canada’s banknotes will be printed on plastic.

Canadian economic experts claim that plastic banknotes have many advantages. They last about twice as long as current banknotes made out of paper and cotton and they don’t get dirty and sticky, which is an advantage especially in hot, wet climates. It is also extremely difficult to forge them. Security features are raised ink, transparent text and hidden numbers.

Canada faced a campaign of faked bills between 2001 and 2004. During this period about 500 forged banknotes were discovered for every million in circulation.

Although the new money costs twice as much to produce, the Canadian government hopes to cut costs because they will not have to print bills that often and take old ones out of circulation. The country also boasts that it is doing something for the environment because such banknotes can be recycled.

However, there are also a number of disadvantages. Plastic banknotes are difficult to fold and put into your wallet and they are smoother. This makes money harder to count by hand.

The technology of producing plastic banknotes came up in Australia towards the end of the 1980s. It is the only country that produces the polymer that is used for making plastic money. Up to now about 23 countries around the world have turned at least some of their banknotes into plastic.

Critics of plastic banknotes suggest that paper banknotes have become much more secure than they were years ago.  According to a British banking expert, it is now possible to produce paper banknotes that have a transparent plastic window, which is extremely hard to reproduce.


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  • according to = as explained by …
  • advantage = the good side of something
  • although = while
  • best developed =  of excellent quality; better than others
  • boast = to talk in a proud way about something
  • circulation = when something moves around and is passed on from person to person
  • claim = to say officially
  • cotton = cloth or thread made from the white hair of a plant
  • critic = a person who is against something
  • current = present, existing
  • cut = reduce
  • disadvantage = bad side of something
  • discover = to find for the first time
  • economic = financial
  • environment = the world and nature around us
  • especially = above all
  • fake = to make something look real
  • fold = bend
  • forge = to copy or produce something illegally
  • government = the people who rule a country
  • however = but
  • polymer= compounds made up of many molecules  to form long chains
  • raise = to move up
  • reproduce = copy
  • secure =safe
  • security feature = here: a part of the banknote that shows how safe it is
  • sticky = when something is wet and stays on an object
  • transparent = something you can see through it
  • twice = two times
  • wallet = a leather case that you carry in your pocket  and use to put money in