March 21, 2023

Polymer banknotes now in 92% of ATMs

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) announced that about 17,304 ATMs across the country, or 92 percent of all automated teller machines (ATMs) or are now dispensing polymer banknotes as of end-December 2022.

The BSP said the P1,000 polymer banknote will have a circulation of 500 million pieces this year. Around 39 million was released last year, equivalent to 7.8 percent of the total polymer banknotes to be circulated.

“As of end-December 2022, 17,304 ATMs or 92 percent of the total number of ATMs in the country have been recalibrated by banks to dispense the 1000-Piso polymer banknotes. Up to 7,274 of these polymer-ready ATMs are located in the National Capital Region (NCR),” the BSP said.

The BSP is gradually releasing polymer banknotes to allow banks and the public to get used to plastic-based bills, as well as to give the industry ample time to recalibrate their ATMs.

“While the BSP continues the phased issuance of 1000-Piso polymer banknotes, the central bank reminds the public, retailers, and banks to accept folded banknotes, whether paper or polymer, as they are legal tender and can be used for daily payment transactions,” said the BSP.

The central bank encouraged the public to go to any bank “if doubtful on the value and/or authenticity of a banknote.” Banks will subsequently submit the banknote for inspection to the BSP.

Currently, the BSP has no capability to produce polymer banknotes and outsources the printing from Note Printing Australia, a subsidiary of the Reserve Bank of Australia.

However, the BSP said that using polymer banknotes, which last longer compared to paper-based money, will save the central bank as much as P2.4 billion.

The phased circulation of plastic-based bills also allows the BSP time to “assess the benefits and costs associated with a shift to polymer.” Previously, BSP Deputy Governor Mamerto E. Tangonan said that the central bank will release its findings at the end of the circulation test this year.

Some aspects covered by the planned polymer evaluation framework include carbon footprint analysis (lifecycle analysis), microbial contamination analysis, perception surveys and sentiment analysis, and banknote lifespan analysis.