Transparent strip causes hiccups in roll-out of new $5 note

The new Australian $5 bank note Source: AAP

Several large retailers have been forced to update their automated cash readers in order to recognise Australia's new $5 note.

The transparent strip, which runs vertically through Australia's new $5 note, has caused significant disruption across the country, with reports that vending machines and pokies have been spitting out the note when inserted.

According to The Daily Telegraph, supermarket giant Woolworths, betting agency TAB and department store chain Kmart have experienced the same issue with their automated cash machines, and have began updating the firmware within them to recognise the new note.

Woolworths is working to update the note readers at their self serve check-outs, while 100,000 vending machines needed to be individually updated.

Betting terminals at TAB outlets are also rejecting the note, but a spokesman told the Sydney Morning Herald the company planned on having all machines accepting the notes by the end of the year.

President of the National Vending Association, Nick Aronis, told the Telegraph the transparent strip, which was introduced to stop counterfeiters from replicating the note, had caused significant disruptions.

“The note reader starts to read the note and sees the clear strip, it identifies that as the end of the note and of course it can’t recognise it, so it spits it back out,” he said.

File image outside a Woolworths supermarket (AAP)
File image outside a Woolworths supermarket (AAP)

Mr Aronis said vending machine operators had been left with a huge bill.

"Anything that's really older than six or seven years old may have to have the note readers completely replaced because they are non-upgradable, so the cost of the industry is absolutely horrendous," he toldNine News.

Australian Vending Association president Phillip Barry told the Herald most vending machines in Australia were recognising the note when it was introduced, but a problem arose when the note began crumpling up inside some machines.

"I personally believe it's a design flaw; that clear section should have been across the top," Mr Barry said. 

"We did bring that up with the Reserve Bank but they decided to do it anyway."

The Reserve Bank printed the new note, which entered circulation on September 1, more than 170 million times.


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