Skip to content Go to accessibility help
We use cookies to keep our websites easy to use and relevant to our users’ requirements and to enable us to learn which advertisements bring users to our website. Select Accept below if you wish to proceed or How to change your cookies for instructions on how to manage your cookie settings. Find out more about our Cookie Policy.

Features of our new polymer note

The future of ‘paper’ money

We’re proud to be the first bank in Great Britain to introduce a fully polymer note into circulation. Our £5 and new £10 notes differ from regular paper notes in various ways. They’re smaller, stronger, cleaner and made of plastic for a start, resulting in a more safe and secure banknote overall. It may be a little bit different but we can assure you it still spends the same.

Paper or Plastic?

Introducing our new £5 banknote

Polymer banknotes are an innovative alternative to paper notes. They’re produced from a thin, transparent plastic film rather than paper which means we add enhanced security feature such as clear portions or ‘windows in the design, while keeping their traditional look.

So what are the benefits of the polymer banknotes?


Polymer notes can incorporate advanced security features which make them more difficult to counterfeit


They stay cleaner than paper notes as they are resistant to dirt and moisture


Polymer notes last at least two and a half times longer than paper notes much make them more environmentally friendly

Why we chose polymer

Following the spirit of great Scottish innovation we believe that being Great Britain’s first bank to produce a fully polymer banknote was a fitting tribute to that innovative spirit.

With that in mind our polymer £5 banknote celebrates the 125th anniversary of one of our great innovative Scottish achievements – Sir William Arrol’s Forth Bridge.

Let’s take a closer look

  1. A section of the Forth Bridge in the window
  2. SPARK® Orbital™ map of Scotland
  3. Portrait of Sir William Arrol, his name and dates of birth and death
  4. The Titan Crane
  1. The Forth Bridge
  2. An InterCity 125 train on the Forth Bridge
  3. A section of the Forth Bridge in the window

Sir William Arrol’s days of steam power and steel are long gone. However, his vision remains very much a part of Scotland’s daily life from the Forth Bridge itself to it’s inclusion on Great Britain’s first polymer banknote. If he were around today, we’re sure he’d approve.