Wherever GUARDIAN™ polymer banknotes have been introduced around the world, they’ve significantly outlasted the paper notes they replaced.

Stronger, longer lasting notes that keep their shape don’t have to be replaced as often. Which also means lower costs. No wonder the case for choosing GUARDIAN is so strong.


According to research[1] carried out by the Bank of England, a polymer banknote will be in circulation from 3.8 to 6 times longer than paper. Indeed, there are many examples where polymer banknotes last much longer than this.

Stronger banknotes reduce costs

The greater durability of polymer means that, over time, the cost of producing currency is reduced. In its first 25 years of using polymer, the Reserve Bank of Australia found that[2] “the switch to polymer has resulted in net savings of close to $1 billion over the past 25 years in inflation-adjusted terms.”

Resistance to wear and tear

The reason for the longevity of polymer notes is their ability to resist the wear and tear of everyday handlings. Analysis of destruction rates for notes issued by the Reserve Bank of New Zealand found that nearly 70% of the paper version of the $5 note had to be destroyed each year because they were unfit for use. This compares to 15% with polymer, as detailed in Specimen Magazine[3]. The Bank of England’s figures are equally impressive[2]. Just 3% of polymer banknotes needed replacing in 2019, compared to 60% of paper notes in a comparable year (2015)

Polymer notes retain their shape

Over time, paper notes lose their structural integrity[4]. They become easier to tear and damage. This is because the cotton used in ‘paper’ notes is a comparatively loose woven structure compared to polymer. The structure of the polymer substrate is more uniform and solid, so that the note retains its structural integrity and shape over time. One of the reasons for the longevity is the ability of polymer to repel dirt and moisture. So, as the Bank of England[5] found, they stay cleaner for longer than paper banknotes.

[1] Bank of England, 2013, Polymer Banknotes: Durable and Clean, Pg. 1
[2] Reserve Bank of Australia, 12th December 2019, A Cost-Benefit Analysis of Polymer Banknotes, [online], Available at:
[3] CCL Secure, Specimen Magazine, 20 years of Guardian polymer in New Zealand, [online], Available at:, Pp 22-23
[4] Bank of England, December 2019, Questions on damaged polymer and paper £10 and £5 Bank of England banknotes, [online], Available at:
[5] Banco de Espana, Billetaria, April 2009, Australia’s experience with polymer banknotes, Pg. 9

To find out more, contact the GUARDIAN team