CREATED Dec. 20, 2013
Will we soon be paying for our purchases with plastic money? If the United States joins a growing trend, we just may be.
Britain has become the latest country to begin phasing in bills made of polymer, not paper. It joins Australia, Canada and about two dozen other countries which have already converted all of their currency to plastic.
Critics say the money is slipperier and harder to fold than paper bank notes, but supporters say it's less grimy, harder to counterfeit and more likely to survive an accidental trip through a washing machine, reports The New York Times
Last week, Britain announced plans to convert its £5 and £10 notes, which have been printed on cotton-based paper for 300 years, to plastic.
As the Times reports, "The Bank of England made its decision on polymer notes after a long process in which the public was able to view and feel the bills during events at several malls and universities. The bank said 87% of the people it talked to supported the move.
"The first polymer note in Britain, a 'fiver,' will be released in 2016 and will feature Winston Churchill," the Times reports. "A year later, Jane Austen will appear on a £10 note." The Queen's face will also appear on both notes.