Britain considers swapping paper money for plastic

Associated Press
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A sample the proposed new British banknotes made of a polymer, five pound and ten pound notes held for an arranged photograph during a news conference at the Bank of England in London, Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2013. Bank of England Deputy Governor Charlie Bean, said: "Polymer banknotes are cleaner, more secure and more durable than paper money", but the bank said Tuesday it will hold public consultations to consider the change. (AP Photo / Chris Ratcliffe)

LONDON (AP) — Britain is pondering plastic pounds.

The Bank of England is considering replacing paper money with polymer bank notes which are billed as cleaner, stronger and more secure.

The bank said Tuesday it will hold a public consultation, bringing samples of plastic money to shopping centers so that members of the public can feel the difference.

Polymer bank notes — made from transparent plastic film coated with layers of ink — are used by countries such as Australia, Mexico and Canada.

Proponents say they are longer-lasting and harder to forge than paper notes. But critics say the bills are slippery, stick together and do not fold as easily as paper.

A British decision is due by December. If the plan is approved, plastic 5-pound notes could be in circulation by 2016.