BSP circulates 10-M polymer banknotes

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) announced on Tuesday, April 26, that it has started circulating an initial 10 million pieces of polymer banknotes in P1,000 denomination.

The BSP said it has “began the phased issuance of polymer banknotes to banks, with the release of a limited quantity last week.” It earlier announced that it will release the initial batch of P1,000 polymer banknotes by April 18.

The central bank said the 10 million pieces is about two percent of the total polymer banknotes to be circulated. “This is equivalent to 0.7 percent of the estimated combined number of 1000-piso paper and polymer banknotes in circulation,” it said.

A total of 500 million pieces of polymer banknotes is expected to be circulated alongside the P1,000 paper banknotes by 2023, said the BSP. “BSP Governor Benjamin E. Diokno has repeatedly stated that there will be no demonetization of currently circulating banknotes and coins during his term,” it added.

The BSP said it has conducted technical briefings for bank personnel, machine suppliers, and cash-in-transit service providers to educate them on the design and security features of the polymer banknotes.

As announced earlier, polymer banknotes will only be available at banks’ over-the-counter transactions. By October at the latest, the new plastic bills will be accessed via automated teller machines (ATMs) following recalibration of existing ATMs.

The BSP has decided to circulate the waterproof and dirtproof polymer banknotes for five reasons: it is hygienic and sanitary, and significantly cleaner; for enhanced security because it is harder to counterfeit; for durability because it has a longer lifespan; cost-effectiveness since it is economical in the long term; and it is environment-friendly because it is recyclable.

The BSP is currently finalizing the memorandum of agreement to cover polymer familiarization by all banks and calibration of existing cash processing machines, vending machines, ATMs, bills acceptors, and other similar devices for compatibility with polymer banknotes.

The polymer banknotes’ limited circulation test will help the BSP assess the validity of the purported benefits of using plastic-based money, particularly the effects of polymerization on hygiene and public health, environmental sustainability, durability and counterfeiting rates.

The BSP will start the full public issuance of the 1000-piso polymer banknotes in 2023. The polymer banknotes will be produced by the Reserve Bank of Australia subsidiary, Note Printing Australia.

The polymer version of the existing paper-based P1,000 banknotes will have flora and fauna design and will have as centerpiece the Philippine eagle.

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