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On 1 September 2016, Australia issued its new A$5 polymer banknote. It is the first of the new series to be issued, as part of the Reserve Bank of Australia’s Next Generation Banknote Program to replace the current series issued in the early 1990s.

The A$5 is the first circulating note to feature a clear edge-to-edge window. This partially demetalised top-to-bottom holographic window feature uses existing KINEGRAM ZERO.ZERO® technology developed and supplied by KURZ, applied as a stripe onto clear GUARDIAN® polymer substrate, supplied by Innovia Security.

The optical security features in the foil comprise the Federation Star at the top of the banknote using the 3D optical effect ‘Surface Relief’, followed by the Eastern Spinebill bird that, when the banknote is tilted diagonally, shows the different poses of the bird progressively highlighted, making it look as if the bird is flying. In the centre of the window another Eastern Spinebill is depicted sitting on a branch (which features microtext). At the bottom of the foil is a highly detailed image of the Federation Pavillion that upon tilting reveals the number ‘5’ inside the building.

The front of the new $5 banknote
The front of the new $5 banknote

The use of these highly advanced foil stripes as key overt security feature on the RBA’s new banknotes is the result of a high level technical collaboration of several project partners.

Non-holographic security features incorporated within the new banknote include: tactile intaglio print and a tactile feature in the form of a raised bump to help the visually impaired distinguish between different denominations, ultra-violet fluorescent print, microprint and a rolling colour effect visible from both sides of the banknote.

All other Australian denominations will be upgraded over the coming years, with each banknote in the series incorporating a different species of Australian wattle and native bird with the same security features.

The RBA’s Assistant Governor (Business Services) Michele Bullock said ‘we led the world in plastic banknotes. We are now leading the world in the design and technology in the way we’ve integrated the security features into this banknote.’

The Reserve Bank is running an education campaign to ensure the public are aware of the banknote’s new security features, including a new ‘RBA Banknotes’ smartphone app available from Apple’s App store and Google Play. The app has been developed as an interactive tool to explore all current Australian banknotes, including the new $5 banknote. The app enables users to learn about banknote design and security features, and how to handle counterfeit and damaged banknotes.

We are delighted to welcome the Reserve Bank of Australia to HSP Asia in Singapore this December where they will be speaking on the development of the new A$5 – from concept to circulation. Find out more and see the whole programme on the HSP Asia website.

HSP Asia will take place in Singapore from 5-7 December 2016 and features a programme of case studies and innovations in secure printing, spanning currency, ID and other government secure documents.