@Kaustubh Katdare • 22 Aug, 2014
The Reserve Bank Of India (RBI) is likely to begin an experiment in select few cities in India to test the possibility of replacing the regular paper-based currency notes with plastic currency notes. The cities will be chosen based on the weather in those cities so that the long term effects of weather on currency notes can be studied. While it looks like a good idea; I thought of creating this discussion to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of plastic currency notes.

The most obvious advantage of the notes is the life - with plastic notes capable of lasting a few decades (correct me if I'm wrong). Plus you won't have to worry about the notes getting wet in rain - one of the common problems during rainy season. The main disadvantage, I believe, is the cost of printing such notes. I'd assume that the cost of the notes is going to be significantly higher; because once printed these notes will last long.

The government might launch the pilot with about 1 billion notes. Would love to have opinions on the topic.
@Ankita Katdare • 22 Aug, 2014 Interesting question.

Advantages -
As you mentioned, the plastic notes will last much longer than classic paper notes (thus reducing the cost of replacement by a significant amount).
Other than that, they won't get easily damaged by dirt and excessive handling in rough conditions.
Another quite major feature would be that they security features on these notes will be easy to verify as well as quite difficult to counterfeit.

Disadvantages -
Counting them might be bit of a task. Remember those efficient old bankers, who count the bundles of thousands of rupees within seconds? That might not be possible.
The authorities might also have to bear the cost of replacing the ATMs or vending machines (and other automatic payment devices) that issue money. Will the new plastic notes be compatible with those?
@Anoop Mathew • 22 Aug, 2014 • 2 likes Kuwait just switched from Paper to Plastic currencies. Looking at these currencies, I can say that they are better in 'built-quality' but somewhat does not 'feel' like money. That's the only issue.

Another issue that could creep out is that we'd need bigger purses to hold more cash as plastic is more 'harder' than Paper and bunch of those would definitely 'add' weight/area to the purse.

Other than that, I don't see an issue in recycling plastic in this most-efficient manner. Atleast no one will 'throw' away the money like they throw away plastic bags.
@Anoop Kumar • 22 Aug, 2014 • 1 like This is most awaited thing to implement in India. Top advantage is plastic notes are more secure, tough to counterfeit.

PS: Discussing of currency, watch this movie The Counterfeiters, based on true story.
@Kaustubh Katdare • 22 Aug, 2014 These notes could get some chips that make it easier for machines to count them. @Harshad Italiya - do you think that's a possibility?
@Ramani Aswath • 22 Aug, 2014 We are assuming that plastic means a monolithic sheet. Plastic can be made like paper. I use Dupont Tyvek for medical packaging. Tyvek looks and feel like paper, yet water, puncture and tear resistant.

Anoop Mathew can continue using his existing wallet. But by the time this becomes a reality his pay may go up enough to require a briefcase instead of a wallet.
@Sarathkumar Chandrasekaran • 22 Aug, 2014 I would be glad if it was tested in TN.
@Harshad Italiya • 22 Aug, 2014
Kaustubh Katdare
These notes could get some chips that make it easier for machines to count them. @Harshad Italiya - do you think that's a possibility?
But it will increase the value of printing itself and Electronic chip might have better way to temper or hack.
@Satya Swaroop Dash • 22 Aug, 2014 Reports suggest that RBI might start by circulating Rs. 10 notes in these cities. This might be quite expensive but worth a try.
@Kaustubh Katdare • 05 Jul, 2015 Curious to know if there's any update on this? Has the government rolled out plastic currency notes yet?

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