New $5, $10 and $20 polymer notes will be distributed to commercial banks from Monday, Central Bank Governor Alvin Hilaire announced at a media briefing. He said the $1 and $50 polymer notes will be introduced in January

The new polymer notes will co-circulate with the existing paper-based (cotton) notes and both will be legal tender until at least the end of 2021 when a decision will be taken on demonetisation of the cotton notes. The three new notes follow the issuance of $100 polymer notes and demonetisation of cotton-based $100 bills last December.

Head of Banking Operations at the Central Bank Sharon Villafan said among the advantages of the polymer notes are improved durability—they last two and a half times longer than cotton notes. They also have stronger security features to protect against forgery and more defined tactile features which provide improved access for the visually impaired.

Hilaire said the introduction of the new notes comes as the Central Bank explores ways to reduce the costs of its currency operation and moves toward digitisation. He said there are plans to reduce reliance on notes and coins as a while.

In the coming weeks, the Central Bank will host Know Your Money sessions to familiarise the public with the features of the new notes.

More information is available via email at [email protected] or on the Central Bank’s Facebook page.