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Canada to go paperless — with money

The country plans on replacing bills with all-plastic notes made out of a single thin sheet of polymer. This week the country introduced the first of the plastic notes — the $100 bill.

November 18, 2011|By Deborah Netburn, Los Angeles Times
  • The new Canadian $100 bills made of polymer are placed in glasses of juice, cola and water to show their durability. The Bank of Canada asserted that the new notes would last twice as long as the paper bills and that theyre recyclable.
The new Canadian $100 bills made of polymer are placed in glasses of juice,… (Mark Blinch, Reuters )

In Canada, you'll soon have two choices when paying for things: plastic or plastic.

The country is planning on phasing out paper money and replacing it with all-plastic notes made out of a single thin sheet of polymer. This week the country introduced the first of the plastic notes — the $100 bill.

In a statement, the Bank of Canada asserted that the new notes would last twice as long as the old paper bills, and that they're recyclable.

But the real reason the country is switching to plastic? Security.

The bank said the new bills contain leading-edge security features that makes them difficult to counterfeit and easy to verify.

There's raised ink on the big number 100, the wording "Bank of Canada" and on the shoulders of the well-mustached Robert Borden, prime minister of Canada from 1911 to 1920.

There are also two transparent windows on the note. A small one in the shape of a maple leaf and a larger one that extends from the bottom to the top of the bill and contains a small image of Borden.

Look closely at the larger window and you'll notice it's dotted with small numbers, some of which are reversed.

Moving the $100 note causes the colors on some parts of the bill to shift substantially, while color changes on Borden are subtle.

The bank made a YouTube video to explain the security features and to help Canadians ensure that they aren't being tricked by counterfeiters.

Canada will introduce plastic $50 notes in March, and plastic $5 and $10 bills will come out by the end of 2013.

deborah.netburn@latimes.com

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