Teething problems with the new $50 note should be kept to a minimum, argues the Reserve Bank after it embarked on a heavy programme of testing and engagement with industry ahead of Thursday's launch.
The new-look note will be the third in the current series in circulation after the $5 note hit the streets in 2016 and the $10 note last year.
Previous releases have had their share of issues with some cash handling machines not initially able to support the newer $5 and $10 notes.
“It is a huge logistical exercise; obviously it’s up to individual providers if and when to upgrade their machines, but we have been working with them for over 12 months to get them as ready as possible,” said RBA assistant governor Lindsay Boulton.
With more than 710 million $50 notes in Australia, accounting for nearly half of all notes in circulation, the RBA has been focused on avoiding the issues with previous releases.
“We were keen for the new $5 and $10 to be well accepted before we launched the most popular note, the $50," said RBA governor Philip Lowe said.
"This has involved working closely with businesses to assist cash handlers and cash-handling machines to identify and use the notes, which will help minimise disruption to people and businesses."
The new series of notes have advanced security features such as a top to bottom clear window, containing a reversing number and flying swan, as well as microprint and a patch with a rolling colour effect.
All notes in the series, including the $20 and $100 note, to be released in 2019 and 2020 respectively, will have essentially the same security features.
Slight bumps on the top and bottom of the note will also help the vision impaired to quickly and easily discern the notes value.
Mr Boulton said there was a need to keep innovating to remain ahead of criminals.
“In Australia, if you had 60,000 notes in your wallet only one of them is likely to be counterfeit, but it’s not enough to rest on our laurels, we need to keep looking into better security,” said Mr Boulton.
“There is significant advantage in ensuring the same security features across all of the notes, that way the public can familiarise and understand the security functions of any note."
Currently 250 million of the new $50 notes have been printed and are ready for circulation.
Mr Boulton expects it to take about two years for the new notes to have replaced the old ones.
He urged the public to familiarise themselves with the new security features as soon as they get their hands on a new note.
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