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23rd September 2016

Testing out the new £5 note (ignore this)

You’ve seen it on the news, maybe you’ve even lost one on a night out but just how tough is the new £5 note? Our intrepid reporter Alec Wilby investigates so you don’t have to.

The new polymer £5 note began filling cash machines on the 13th of September and bears a number of new features intended to make it more durable and secure. £5 notes are the most frequently replaced due to damage, the new notes should last at least 2.5 times as long and the Bank of England believes that the new version will be more environmentally friendly as a result.
One of the security features is the transparent window on the left of the note.

Over the last 2 days, I put the note through a series of tests that could easily crop up in any student’s typical week.

Starting with the general durability, the new note is supposed to be very difficult to damage and my first test confirmed this: trying to rip it does no damage other than causing a small crease (which goes away after a while).
Trying to rip the note was no use – Note: 1, Mancunion: 0

To try and make a more believable scenario, I crushed the note up, stuffed it in my pocket and kept it there all day while I was moving around at work. Once again however, the note was up to the challenge and although it came out with some fairly prominent creases, was otherwise OK.

Once again, the note came out ahead – Note: 2, Mancunion: 0

Half way through my experiment the note had an established lead, it was time to begin the real punishment: cola, my logic being that if it’s bad for your teeth, it should be bad for your currency.
Other than making the note slightly sticky, 3 hours partly submerged achieved nothing and neither did putting it in with my towel wash – Note: 3, Mancunion: 0 (N.B. The Bank of England is keen to stress that ironing the new note will likely destroy it, but temperatures less than 120 C should be fine)

The final test of course is whether or not the note still works. One thing I noticed during my rigorous testing is that the corners of the note don’t stay folded in the way they used to on the old £5 note, meaning that self-service machines should reject them (slightly) less often.
My purchase went off without a hitch, making the new £5 note the clear winner – Note: 4, Mancunion: 0

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