BSP starts campaign for polymer money

Published July 6, 2022, 5:06 PM

by Lee C. Chipongian

As part of its banknotes campaign, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has launched a dedicated webpage or microsite for the new P1,000 polymer banknote to increase public awareness and encourage its use.

“The BSP intensifies its efforts to raise public awareness on the new polymer banknote to safeguard the integrity of Philippine currency and promote its proper use,” said the BSP on Wednesday, July 6.

BSP’s polymer banknote microsite
BSP’s polymer banknote microsite

The website, bit.ly/PolymerPH, informs the public of the circulation and release timeline of the polymer banknotes which has been initially circulated last April for a limited 10 million pieces, part of the 500 million pieces that BSP will circulate until 2023.

The next batch of polymer banknote release is October this year which will run until June 2023. The BSP will circulate another 490 million banknotes during this period. This will bring the share of polymer banknotes to total number of P1,000 bills in circulation to 31.9 percent from 0.7 percent today.

The dedicated website showcases the polymer banknote’s design, benefits, and security features, said the BSP. It also includes guidelines on how to properly handle the polymer money, as well as its circulation timeline.

Educational materials, such as information sheets and frequently asked questions, are also posted on the new webpage, said the BSP.

The BSP said last month that banking networks’ cash-processing machines including automated teller machines (ATM) will be able to dispense polymer banknotes by end-December this year.

At the moment, polymer banknotes are available via over-the-counter-services. ATMs are unable to dispense these plastic-based money since at present set up, the polymer bills tend to stick to each other and the ATMs need to be recalibrated.

The BSP timeline is end-December 2022 for banks located in the National Capital Region (NCR) and by end-June 2023 for banks in areas outside of the NCR.

In a previous interview, Bankers Association of the Philippines (BAP) president and East West Banking Corp. CEO Antonio C. Moncupa Jr. said banks will need time to ensure a smooth adoption of polymer banknotes to “avoid public inconvenience” since once recalibrated ATMs are installed, there will have to be “standard testing practice” that could take more time.

Other banks, such as BDO Unibank Inc., Bank of the Philippine Islands, Security Bank Corp. and Metropolitan Bank and Trust Co. have all said that they are prepared to comply with the BSP mandate and timeline in making polymer banknotes available via ATMs.

The BSP and banks have a memorandum of agreement to cover polymer familiarization by all banks and calibration of existing cash processing machines, vending machines, ATMs, bills acceptors, and other similar devices for compatibility with polymer banknotes.

The BSP has decided to circulate the waterproof and dirtproof polymer banknotes for its hygienic and sanitary values. These are important features for a banknote especially in a pandemic, said BSP.

The polymer banknotes are outsourced and printed by Note Printing Australia, a subsidiary of the Reserve Bank of Australia. The BSP currently has no capacity to produce polymer banknotes.

 
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