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Bank Note Industry Sees Production Changes
By Richard Giedroyc

Coin and bank note collecting are usually viewed as two different things, but in today's world the cold facts are that both circulate simultaneously and both are considered to be currency.

Adding to this mix are "payment cards" consisting of credit, debit and smart cards. There are collectors for these payment cards as well, but as a hobby it has never been overly popular.

Just as there are continual changes within the coin producing fraternity there are changes regarding future bank note production that are being faced as well. The report "Global Banknote Industry: An Analysis" released in Dublin, Ireland, by Research and Markets examines what this industry is expecting.

One thing of interest in the report is the expanding opportunities for private industry to get involved in the bank note producing industry, this industry having been more of a secret society in the past. Coins have for some time not only been struck by privately owned as well as government mints, but the blanks for coins have in some instances been struck by private concerns and sold to government mints. In the United States, as an example, blanks for late 18th and early 19th century large cents and the current silver American Eagle coins have been produced by outside contractors.

According to a Dec. 10, 2008 Wall Street Journal newspaper report, "The participation of private paper mills is still very small as compared to state-owned mills" regarding supplying security paper for bank note producing entities.

Elsewhere in the Wall Street Journal article it states, "Banks are now outsourcing a large part of the distribution and recycling of cash to private companies, cash-in-transit or professional cash handlers or sub-contractors. In fact, in 2012 the Euro production system is going to open up for private players completely, providing a level playing field."

This could get interesting, considering the number of countries that are now changing from paper composition bank notes to those more secure notes composed of plastics or substrate. If private industry gets involved it could usher in all sorts of new technology. The privately owned Pobjoy Mint, for example, has been instrumental in introducing several new innovations to coins that began as novelties on non-circulating legal tender commemoratives, but were later employed for circulation coinage as well.

A few of the private concerns that are involved in bank note production are De La Rue, Fortress Paper, Giesecke & Devrient (G&D), and Francois Charles Oberthur Fiduciaire.

Innovations often introduced by private companies are important. As the Wall Street Journal article says, "The efforts to make the bank note secure are not proving very fruitful as the problem of counterfeiting is growing globally. Therefore many countries have now adopted polymer bank notes." If you think holograms, Braille and color enhancement on coins is novel, wait until you see what private bank note producing companies may introduce.

Payment cards are seen as a serious challenge to the bank note production industry. According to the Wall Street Journal article, "The growth payment cards are registering is attractive, although it's country or region specific, but people are shifting towards non-cash based payments and in most countries this is even being encouraged."

For more information on the report see www.researchandmarkets.com.

 



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