New $5 note to help visually impaired

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The new five dollar note, to be released into circulation on Thursday to beat counterfeiters, will help visually impaired Australians distinguish between different banknotes.

It's the first time the Reserve Bank has issued a new note in 25 years.

170 million new five dollar notes have been printed, enough to replace the current ones already in circulation.

But RBA Assistant Governor Michele Bullock says not everyone will see them straight away.

"Certainly the old bank notes are still legal tender, and as they come back to us in the normal course, we will destroy them in the normal course, but in the time being, everyone should feel confident that they are still secure."

Michele Bullock says the Queen remains on the new look note and the colour scheme remains similar but there are some key security features.

"The first is a clear top to bottom window in the bank note."

"If people tilt the bank note in particular ways they'll see animated features, they'll see a flapping bird, they'll see a number in the federation pavillion reversing. There is also a rolling colour effect in one corner of the bank note if you tilt it you'll see the colour change.

"Finally one I really love which is an oldie but a goodie, which is the microprint on the bank note and if you look on the parliament house side and get your magnifying glass out, you'll see very tiny print which is the words of the constitution in the steps of parliament house and also in the branch the bird is standing on."

The assistant governor adds they're measures to keep the currency secure.

"Counterfeting is quite low in Australia but it's on the rise, and technology is starting to catch up so what we're doing here is really taking the security of the bank notes, to a new level, well ahead of the counter fitters to keep the currency very secure into the future."

New $5 note to help visually impaired

For the vision impaired a tactile feature helps to tell difference between notes.

The new feature means almost 360,000 visually impaired Australians will be able to distinguish between different denominations of banknotes.

Vision Australia's lead policy advisor Bruce Maguire said the note will give those who are blind or vision-impaired the ability to identify currency accurately and confidently for the first time.

"I think the introduction of the tactile feature on banknotes is the biggest inclusive effort that I have seen in my lifetime," he said.

"None of us who are blind have been able to identify notes accurately by touch before and that is something that everybody takes for granted."

Cash is in demand

While the popularity of plastic payments like tap and go increases Ms Bullock says, the reality is cash is in demand.

"If you go anywhere you still see a lot of people using cash, bank notes in circulation are still rising by about six per cent a year so people are still using cash, because they're using it we want to make sure it is as secure as it can be for them."

Russell Zimmerman, Executive Director of the Australian Retailers Association, says businesses need to make sure they're ready for the new look five dollar note.

"For smaller retailers its about knowing the new notes in circulation, informing their staff, making sure their staff don't knock it back or reject it on the day when it comes out for bigger business there is a whole raft of implementations it may be around counting machines, note weighing machines, some retailers have safes that they actually put their money in and actually counts the money and sends the information through to the bank, those machines need to be re calibrated."

This is the first of a total refresh of Australia's banknote currency over the coming years.

The RBA's Banknote microsite has more details about the new $5 note.

 With AAP.

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