US $5 bill turns purple
The US is finally smartening up and taking a page from Canada's currency playbook. Colourful money is not only pretty, it makes for lightning fast transactions and adds valuable seconds to our busy lives. (Insert single, slow clap to gradually erupt into widespread ovation).
WASHINGTON - Cue the hues for the Great Emancipator. A new $5 bill, with splashes of color surrounding Abraham Lincoln will go into circulation March 13, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing and the Federal Reserve announced Thursday.
The new bill still will have a portrait of the 16th president on one side and the Lincoln Memorial on the other. But it also will feature purple and gray colors and other high-tech changes designed to make life more difficult for counterfeiters.
Officials said they hoped the vending machine industry will use the next three months to make the adjustments needed so that millions of machines will be able to accept the redesigned $5 bill. That denomination is used heavily in the machines.
Rose Pianalto, a Fed official working on the redesign, said that because the bill is used extensively in vending and self-checkout machines, "encouraging businesses to get those machines updated to accept the new design has been a particular focus for us."
The changes to the $5 bill are similar to those already made, starting in 2003, to the $10, $20 and $50 bills. In those redesigns, pastel colors were added as part of an effort to stay ahead of counterfeiters and their increasingly sophisticated copying machines.
The new $5 will add a light purple color at the center of the bill that will blend with gray near the edges.
Small yellow "05" numerals will be printed to the left of Lincoln on the front and to the right of the memorial on the back. The Great Seal of the United States, which features an eagle and shield, will appear in purple to the right of the president's portrait. An arc of purple stars will surround Lincoln and the seal.
The note will feature a large-size "5" printed in the lower right-hand corner of the backside of the bill in high-contrast purple; this feature was added to help the visually impaired.
The bureau has been printing the new bills since September. The goal is to have 1.5 billion ready to go into circulation in March.
While the $5 bill is getting a makeover, there will be no changes to the $1 bill.
The next bill set for a makeover is the $100 bill. It will feature the most advanced safeguard yet, a new security thread composed of 650,000 tiny lenses. This will magnify microprinting on the bills to give the effect of having the images move in the opposite direction than the bill when it is being moved.
The bureau hopes to have the redesign of the $100 completed by the fall of 2008.