Demonetisation of $100 bill by December 31
Photo by Darlisa Ghouralal.
From December 31, current $100 bills in circulation will cease to be legal tender, making way for the new plastic polymer notes.
Central Bank Governor Dr Alvin Hilaire made the announcement at a conference on Monday where the new polymer note was launched.
Around 80 million $100 bills are currently in circulation. Banks have already begun receiving the new notes, which will be available to the public from tomorrow.
Photo by Darlisa Ghouralal.
When asked whether rapid demonetisation would see long lines and other hiccups as customers try to cash in their old bills, Hilaire said the shorter timeframe would actually keep down the costs involved in the changeover.
He urged citizens to have patience as banks put things in place to ensure that their ATMs are configured to dispense the new polymer notes.
He also revealed that this was only the first step in a series of changeovers, as the other denominations of paper currency would soon follow suit and be changed to polymer bills.
The new designs will be unveiled by March 31, 2020.
In keeping with the design change of the new $100 polymer, the Central Bank Governor said tradition will be maintained in terms of colours and familiar markers like the Coat of Arms, but at the same time modern, avant garde, simple, futuristic and reflect T&T as a people.
Hilaire explained that the changeover to polymer was a decision taken with four factors in mind: durability, security, cost savings, and those with visual impairment or low vision.
Commenting on the new design, Hilaire described it as "very structured" that maintains elements from the previous bills.
"It is uncluttered… a few elements, not too much going on.
It’s clean, simple and straightforward. It also respects tradition and we think that is important.”
"So, the elements that we had before are maintained. We have the Coat of Arms, we have the derrick, we have the bird and of course, we have the Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago."
He assured that there will be increased surveillance by the Financial Intelligence Unit to combat money laundering and the possibility of forgery, noting a recent uptick in counterfeiting of the bills.
The new security features of the polymer $100 note make it more difficult for counterfeiters to forge the bill.
Holding up the note to natural light will reveal the number 100 in the blue print, while under a UV light some areas of the note will glow.
While the new note is smoother than current paper bills, the corner of the note features a raised X. A clear window can be seen from the front and back of the note. Tilting the bill reveals areas of shimmering gold ink. Looking at the note under a magnifier small letters and numbers will appear as plain print.
The Central Bank will also conduct a series of Know Your Money sessions this week to sensitise the public on the new notes.
Hilaire also assured there would be minimal disruption, despite the demonetisation exercise coinciding with Christmas.