Getting a packet of chips from the office vending machine could soon become a more interesting experience after the RBA (Reserve Bank of Australia) revealed that the nation’s new five dollar note will feature a prominent transparent strip and a far more colourful design.
Due to be released on 1st September this year, the long term project to upgrade Australia’s five dollar note by the government’s central bank has potentially profound implications for businesses that operate automatic banknote readers that range from junk food vending machines to pokies and even pay parking facilities.
“Innovative new security features have been incorporated to help keep Australia’s banknotes secure from counterfeiting into the future,” said RBA Governor Glenn Stevens.
“As can be seen in the images, these include a distinctive top-to-bottom window. Each banknote in the new series will depict a different species of Australian wattle and a native bird within a number of the elements. On the $5 banknote, these are the Prickly Moses wattle and the Eastern Spinebill.”
Flora and fauna aside, the release of the new five dollar banknote is a big deal and not just for numismatics enthusiasts.
As cards and electronics payments progressively eat away at the role of cash among higher denominations – especially above the psychological $10 card payment threshold still foisted on customers by many merchants – the role of the five dollar bill increases in both turnover and significance in cash transactions.
If you’ve ever noticed that five dollar notes seem to be the most worn and beaten up of banknotes in your wallet, that’s because the change hands across the counters of coffee shops, newsagents and pubs far more frequently than other denominations.
But while the new notes undoubtedly be a physical improvement of the old purple favourites in terms of tactile feel and durability, their issuance will require major upgrades from businesses ranging from banks to confectioners.
Supermarkets that use self-service checkouts are also in the frame.
“The number of machines in Australia that process banknotes in one form or another is substantial – it is estimated that there are more than 30,000 ATMs, 8,000 self-service checkouts, 200,000 gaming machines and more than 250,000 vending machines in Australia that will need to be upgraded and reconfigured to ensure that they can accept and dispense the new banknotes,” the RBA said on its Banknote Stakeholder Engagement page.
So far the RBA seems confident industry is across the change and will be ready for the adjustment.
“As of September 2015, the Bank [RBA] has engaged with all companies that it is aware of as active in the Australian market. It is expected that these companies make up the majority of the industry. The outcomes from this engagement have been positive and the Bank is becoming increasingly confident that most machines will be able to process the new banknotes when the first denomination is issued,” the RBA said.
However the cash reader upgrades are likely to trigger a different kind of response from payments operators who are just as likely to use the need to upgrade as a catalyst to fit contactless card readers.
Either way, the path to the 3pm junk food transaction is about to get more interesting one way or another.
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