Washed-out bank notes could soon be a thing of the past

Have you ever hung out a pair of jeans only to discover a limp, damp, washed-out bank note stuffed in the pocket? Well, someone at the Bank of England must share your pain as they are proposing introducing new polymer banknotes – made of a thin, flexible plastic instead of paper.

A sample Polymer ten pound banknote is shown during the news conference at the Bank of England Credit: PA Wire

Despite the ubiquity of credit cards and online shopping, we still spend nearly two in every three pounds with cash. The Bank is keen not only to squeeze out soggy notes – which saves money in the long run - but to make them more difficult to forge, cleaner and even more environmentally friendly.

Ever with an eye on the pennies as much as the pounds, the Bank thinks new notes could save it £100,000 over a decade.

Samples of Polymer five pound banknotes are shown Credit: PA Wire

While plastic notes are not new – Australia first introduced them in 1988 and 38 other countries have gone on to issue them – they are unfamiliar to many British people so the Bank is launching a consultation programme to tell us more about them and gauge opinions.

But ITV News lent a helping hand. Watch this video to see what our carefully selected focus group (on the street outside the Bank) had to say as we gave them a sneak preview: