Canadian Vending

Editor’s blog

Embracing the change

November 15, 2012
By Stefanie Wallace

Nov. 15, 2012 – Canadian Vending & Office Coffee Service magazine web editor Stefanie Wallace recaps some of the recent headlines about the new $20 polymer bill.

Nov. 15, 2012 – News headlines over the last two weeks have highlighted the introduction, benefits and challenges of Canada’s latest version of the $20 bill.

Before the polymer $20 note entered into circulation last Wednesday, the Bank of Canada released information about the bill’s durability.

After reports this summer that polymer money had melted after being left in a hot car, the bank conducted tests to prove their resiliency. In a press release, the bank says the new polymer notes were tested in extremely cold temperatures (-75 C/-103 F) and extremely hot temperatures (140 C/284 F), and “do not melt under normal circulating conditions.” The press release further stated that polymer bank notes have been used in many other countries with climates far hotter than Canada’s, including Australia, Mexico and Singapore.


If you’re wondering if the new $20 bills will crinkle (literally) under heat like the $50 and $100 notes, it’s probably not a good idea to experiment.

The Ottawa Citizen released a different kind of story on the new note in October.

The unveiling of the new bank note cost the Bank of Canada close to $40,000, according to the Citizen. This included a seven-storey image of the front and bank of the new bill installed on the bank’s east tower to display the note’s new design, and to announce its circulation date.

“The bank felt it was important to promote the new bill and help educate Canadian consumers and retailers so they know it will gradually be released into circulation,” Julie Girard, currency spokesperson for the Bank of Canada, told the Ottawa Citizen.

The grand total of the project cost nearly 2,000 of the new $20 bills. Let’s hope whoever held on to that cash knew better than to leave it in their car on a hot summer day.

All joking aside, as was expected, those who weren’t quite ready for the new notes have expressed frustration.

The general manager of a vending business in Regina told CBC News that more than 200 of its machines that accept $20 bills needed to be updated to recognize the new plastic notes. Greg Buzash told CBC News that it would take more than a week to get all the machines up to speed, as the process involved installing a new computer chip in the machines.

“It’d be better, I guess, if they just left them the way they are, but it’s change,” he said. “You have to keep up with the changes, right?”

In fairness, updating machines costs time and money, as was seen last year when all machines needed to be updated to accept the new loonies and toonies.

But some are saying the added security is a benefit, despite the necessary technology changes.

“There’s no question that there are going to be some infrastructure upgrades that happen for our slot machines, our ATMs and that,” Richard Ahenakew, general manager of the Northern Lights Casino in Saskatchewan, told the Prince Albert Daily Herald.

“But other than that, you look at the cost in any way and the security features that are not only for casinos, banks, but more importantly, the amount of help that it gives law enforcement with dealing with counterfeit currency, and that really outweighs everything.”

Embracing change can be a challenge. But in the long run, the added security features should help eliminate counterfeit money, which benefits us all.

Have you had problems adapting your equipment to use polymer money? Are you embracing the change? Let us know below, or on Twitter @CanadianVending.

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