From today the money in your wallet is going to look and feel slightly different as the brand new five pound note goes into circulation.
The big news for surfers is the polymer plastic construction of the new note, meaning they could head out to sea safe in the knowledge that they could suffer all the wipeouts in the world, but the banknote tucked in their wetsuit would survive.
The new fiver is also significant because it is 15 per cent smaller and the new type of polymer construction will make it significantly harder to copy than previous paper notes.
The polymer is also tear-resistant and can easily survive a spin or two in the washing machine. However, they are not imperishable and are only expected to last an average of five years (but that is three years longer than the current paper note.)
You will still be able to spend your old fiver until 5 May 2017, by which time most of them should have been removed from circulation.
The governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney said of the state-of-the-art plastic money
“The New Fiver, made of polymer, will be cleaner, safer and stronger. Resistant to dirt and moisture, it will stay in good condition for longer. The new security features make it harder to counterfeit. While the use of polymer means it can better withstand being repeatedly folded into wallets or scrunched up inside pockets and can also survive a spin in the washing machine. We expect polymer notes to last at least two-and-a-half times longer than the current generation of fivers and therefore reduce future costs of production.”
A new polymer £10 will follow in 2017 and will feature Jane Austen, with a £20 note to be launched by 2020 that will feature the artist Turner.
The UK follows a long line of countries that have introduced the polymer notes including Australia who have had the note since 1974 and Scotland who introduced their note last year.