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AfricaMoney | August 24, 2017

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Mauritius introduces polymer banknotes

Mauritius introduces polymer banknotes

The Bank of Mauritius is now among a group of select countries which have chosen to use plastic money to curtail counterfeiting, reports Central Banking on its online edition. The Bank of Mauritius has launched polymer banknotes, typically considered to be more secure than their paper equivalents.

The central bank announced that it had introduced the plastic notes in denominations of 25, 50 and 500 Mauritian rupees, worth $0.78, $1.57 and $15.75 respectively. The polymer banknotes enter circulation alongside the existing paper banknotes, and both will be accepted as legal tender for the time being.

The polymer notes are printed with magnetic ink that becomes fluorescent under ultra-violet light. They also contain a transparent window bearing an image of the dodo – an extinct Mauritian bird that lives on on the front of the country’s notes and coins – and other ‘swing’ features (iridescent, optically variable ink printed on a transparent background.)

Australia was a pioneer, launching its first polymer note in 1988 and completing the switch from paper to plastic in 1996. New Zealand, Israel, Malaysia and Romania are among the around 20 countries that have partially followed suit.

In 2011, the Bank of Canada introduced its first polymer note (C$100) – a “safer, cheaper and greener” alternative to traditional bills, according to then-governor Mark Carney. Since then, C$50 and C$20 notes have been issued while C$10 and C$5 notes are expected by the end of the year.

According to its proponents, polymer has several advantages over paper. They last longer and are more cost-effective. Like traditional banknotes, they can be watermarked and embossed. In addition, features such as shadow images and magnetic fluorescent ink make them more difficult to counterfeit.

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