Mexico's central bank has issued a new and improved 20 peso bill ($1.20) made of biaxially orientated polypropylene, almost a year after putting a 50 peso note into circulation.
It's the second time the el Banco de Mexico has issued a 20 peso made of BOPP. The first was in September 2002. The 20 and 50 peso bills are the most widely used bills in Mexico.
The bank cited the difficulty counterfeiters face copying the plastics money as a reason for the changeover.
Counterfeit bills circulating in Mexico rose from 72 in every million notes in 2002 to 115 per million in 2005, according to the institution.
Another principal reason for the change is to help blind people identify the different denominations more easily, thanks to variations in the bills' sizes, the bank added. A new monetary law requires this.
Unlike today's bank notes, all six denominations will come in different lengths.
For example, the 20 peso bill is 4.7 inches long, while the 50 peso's length is 5 inches and the 100 peso is about 5.3 inches.
The 50 and 20 peso bills are the lowest denominations available in bank notes. The other four bills available, worth 100, 200, 500 and 1,000 pesos, will continue in circulation but be will available in paper only.
A spokesman said the new 200 and 1,000 peso bills will be introduced in 2008, followed by 100 and 500 notes in 2009.
The bank had opted for 20 and 50 peso bills made of BOPP rather than continuing with paper, a spokesman said, because plastic bills ``are more hygienic for the public to handle and they last longer - meaning that the bank saves money.''
Designed by the bank over a 12-month period, they were printed at the bank's own print shops using BOPP acquired from Securency Pty. Ltd., a supplier of polymer substrate technology based in Craigieburn, Australia.
The currency has some disadvantages, the spokesman said.
``They tear more easily than paper bills,'' he said. ``Despite this, the 20 peso polymer bill has lasted more than three times longer than its paper equivalent and has remained in a far better condition,'' he added.