Guardian™ — Facts and Figures
What Guardian™ Is
What are Guardian™ polymer banknotes?
Guardian™ banknotes use a polymer substrate, which offers benefits from security to recycling that are not possible with paper.
The three major elements of Guardian™ polymer notes are: the base film called Clarity™C; the opacified print layers that enable offset and intaglio inks to adhere to the substrate; and printed and embedded security features.
An Introduction to Guardian™
How are Guardian™ notes made?
The polymer is created from a unique "bubble" process in a four storey-high chamber using gravity and air.
The base film Clarity™C is used exclusively for the creation of Guardian™ substrate, which is then opacified with print layers. Security and other features are embedded and printed to create the final substrate
Why do central banks switch to polymer banknotes?
The benefits of switching to polymer banknotes are extremely compelling and include dramatically reducing counterfeits in circulation, saving many millions of dollars due to their greater durability, being more hygienic and environmentally-friendly, and helping central banks manage their banknote supply more efficiently.
How many countries use Guardian™?
Guardian™ is currently used in 24 countries including Australia since 1988, Mexico since 2002, Canada since 2010 and United Kingdom since 2016. See the complete list of countries that have issued Guardian™ here.
How are polymer notes different from paper?
Polymer notes utilise a three-dimensional transparent substrate, compared to the two-dimensional paper substrate, allowing endless possibilities in design and security features. Research worldwide consistently indicates that the public find Guardian™ notes visually engaging due to the clear window and the vibrant and intricate designs.
Guardian™ notes have a smoother feel than paper – printing works will often use intaglio (i.e. raised) print layers to give Guardian™ notes their tactility.
What benefits does polymer offer over paper?
Guardian™ is the world's most sophisticated banknote substrate. Benefits over paper notes include:
- Three to five times more durable - Less banknote replacement means significant cost savings
- Waterproof - Whether it's saltwater, freshwater or in the washing machine, polymer notes remain useable
- At least ten times more secure - Across every market in which Guardian™ has replaced paper, the rates of counterfeiting are significantly lower often by at least 80 - 90 percent.
- 75 percent cleaner - They carry less bacteria than paper and can be wiped clean
- Up to 60 percent more environmentally-friendly - Across all nine internationally-accepted measures of environmental impact
Can Guardian™ notes be recycled?
Yes, once they become worn or damaged, central banks are able to recycle the notes and can receive support from the Guardian™ Global Recycling Program.
Using Polymer Banknotes
Do new notes stick together?
When both polymer and paper notes are brand new, they can stick together at first – as the notes circulate, this stops happening. Before counting a stack of new notes, we recommend to separate them by fanning, tapping, shuffling or snapping them.
Can polymer notes be used in ATMs?
Yes, there are many countries around the world that use polymer banknotes in ATMs.
Commercial banks and cash handling organisations report that polymer is much cleaner and easier to work with than paper as paper notes shed fibres inside ATMs that build up and requires regular maintenance.
Can I clean them off if they get dirty?
Yes, Guardian™ notes are resistant to dirt and oil, and can be easily cleaned with a damp cloth.
Can I fold or crease my notes?
Whether paper or polymer, it is better to keep notes flat, not folded. To help notes last longer, avoid creasing or crumpling them. When a user comes across crumpled or creased notes, it is recommended they flatten them by applying pressure or by curling them with one's hand.
Do not staple the notes together, as this may cause them to tear.
What should I do if they get a tear?
While polymer notes are very durable and it is difficult to tear them, torn notes can be mended with tape and used again.
Checking Polymer Banknotes and Fighting Counterfeiting
Do I need to check my own money?
While Guardian™ polymer substrate is amongst the most secure materials available today, every individual will always be responsible for protecting themselves from professional banknote counterfeiters and checking their money.
Is it easy to check the banknotes myself?
Guardian™ banknotes include innovative and easy to recognise security features that can be seen from both sides. The notes are specifically designed to be easy to authenticate, but extremely difficult to replicate.
What impact does Guardian™ have on counterfeiting once introduced?
Across every market in which Guardian™ has replaced paper, counterfeiting rates have dropped by at least 80-90 per cent when first introduced.
The technology behind Clarity™C film and Guardian™ polymer substrate presents many significant challenges to would-be counterfeiters.
What can be done to combat professional counterfeiting?
Professional counterfeiting operations remain a threat which requires the collective efforts of Guardian™, law enforcement, printers, suppliers and central banks.
To stay ahead of professional counterfeiters, it is important to:
- Educate the public on how to quickly authenticate a genuine banknote
- Ensure notes have adequate security through embedded security features, security inks and integrated design
- Introduce an upgraded generation of each denomination every six to eight years
- Work with law enforcement to quickly identify the source of counterfeit material in a city
What else can central banks do to help fight counterfeiting?
Central banks can continually research, develop and issue new banknotes with more advanced security features.
They can offer training to people who regularly use cash (including retailers and tellers) so they can identify and report counterfeit banknotes before they enter the cash supply. CCL Secure provides free e-learning modules for cash handlers, please contact CCL Secure Australia to find out more.
Supporting law enforcement agencies in their investigation and prosecution efforts, as well as ensuring banknotes in circulation are of good quality, can also help to fight counterfeiting.