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.

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 issuing authorities switch to polymer banknotes?

The benefits of switching to polymer banknotes are extremely compelling and include dramatically reduced counterfeits in circulation, saving many millions of dollars due to their greater durability, being more hygienic and environmentally-friendly, and helping issuing authorities to 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 England since 2016. See the complete list of countries that have issued Guardian here.

How are polymer notes different from paper?

Polymer notes use a three-dimensional transparent substrate, rather than a two-dimensional paper substrate, enabling 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:

  • Up to six 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
  • More secure - Across every market in which Guardian has replaced paper, the rates of counterfeiting are significantly lower, often by up to 90 percent.
  • Cleaner - They carry less bacteria than paper and can be wiped clean
  • More environmentally-friendly – Life cycle assessments show that the production and distribution of polymer banknotes resulted in nearly 50% reduction in greenhouse gases
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 Programme.

Do new polymer banknotes 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 separating 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, requiring regular maintenance.

Can I clean them if they get dirty?

Yes, Guardian banknotes 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 by hand. Do not staple the notes together, as this may cause them to tear.

What should I do if a banknote is torn?

While polymer notes are very durable and it is difficult to tear them, torn notes can be mended with tape and used again.

Do I need to check my own money?

While Guardian polymer substrate is highly secure, 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?

Across every market in which Guardian has replaced paper, counterfeiting rates have dropped by  up to 90 per cent when first introduced. The technology behind Clarity™C film and Guardian polymer substrate presents many inherently significant challenges to would-be counterfeiters.

What can be done to combat professional counterfeiting?

Professional counterfeiting operations remain a threat that requires the collective efforts of CCL Secure, law enforcement authorities, 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 issuing authorities do to fight counterfeiting?

Central banks and other issuing authorities 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

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