£5 and £10 notes

The Royal Mail has announced it will introduce new £5 and £10 polymer (plastic) bank notes to improve the security and quality of UK bank notes. The £5 note will be introduced in September 2016 and the £10 note will follow in 2017.

While the vending industry supports the need to reduce counterfeit currency and provide bank notes that are more durable and cleaner, the costs incurred by members of the Automatic Vending Association to upgrade vending machines to accept yet another change in currency is a concern.

Upgrading affected vending machines in the UK is expected to mean a large financial outlay for some of our worst affected members – those that are responsible for a high number of note-accepting machines.

The vending industry must pay for the changes out of their own purse as they are not eligible for financial support to help cover the costs.

There also isn’t much time to upgrade – the old £5 notes will fall out of circulation around one year after the new ones are introduced, allowing a relatively small window of time to upgrade any affected machines.

In 1998, the £2 coin was brought into circulation. In January 2012, the Royal Mint gradually introduced new nickel plated 5p and 10p coins. Next year the UK will get a new £1 coin, which will mean even more software upgrades to our machines – of which the majority will be affected.

The frequency of these changes comes at a huge cost, and poses a very real threat to the businesses of some of our members, many of which have been providing an invaluable unattended retail service for many years.