The new polymer £5 note, termed ‘The New Fiver’, has entered circulation in England and Wales.
The note, which was issued by the Bank of England (BoE) and depicts Sir Winston Churchill on the back, is designed to be more durable than its paper predecessor.
Commenting on the introduction of the new note, Mark Carney, Governor of the BoE, said: ‘The New Fiver, made of polymer, will be cleaner, safer and stronger. The new security features make it harder to counterfeit.
‘We expect polymer notes to last at least two-and-a-half times longer than the current generation of fivers, and therefore reduce future costs of production.’
The Bank plans to introduce new polymer £10 and £20 notes over the coming years.
Experts have previously warned that the new notes could stick together due to the polymer coating used in their production. This, they claim, could lead to consumers accidentally paying for goods or services twice.
Addressing the issue, the Bank said: ‘Brand new polymer notes can sometimes stick together, but this effect is short-lived once in use.’
Meanwhile, in Scotland, some plastic notes have been available on a limited basis since March 2015.
The Clydesdale Bank is due to fully introduce plastic notes later this month, whilst the Bank of Scotland and the Royal Bank of Scotland will stage a full roll-out of these notes in October.