Consumers still favour cash as bank launches new £20 note

 Ulster Bank's new polymer £20 note.
 Ulster Bank's new polymer £20 note.

NORTHERN Ireland is the UK region least likely to get to a cashless society, new research shows.

Some 87 of people in are still using bank notes and almost two-thirds (62 per cent) envisage continuing to do so in five years’ time.

That's according to a study for Ulster Bank coinciding with the launch of its new polymer £20 notes, which come into circulation today.

But the analysis, carried out by research firm Cognisense, found that 61 per cent are have been using banknotes less during the pandemic, while 13 per cent are totally cashless and use digital exclusively.

And while two thirds of respondents say they would like to see the main banks continue to issue their own banknotes, most still claim to have issues having their local denomination accepted in Britain (although 52 per cent say they were able to successfully argue the case for the notes to be taken).

Like the previously issued tenners, the new Ulster Bank £20 notes are vertically shaped, with their designs developed by a panel of experts and people from across the north.

The note features street entertainers, reflecting local music and culture, as well as tiles, brickwork and patterns inspired by red-brick tenement buildings.

Other elements are drawn from the ornate decoration found on and in famous public buildings, corporate architecture and domestic homes in Derry and Belfast.

The note also incorporates Derry’s much-loved Hallowe’en celebrations in their security features – under a UV light, skeletons and Leisler’s bat (the largest type of bat in Ireland) can be seen.

Terry Robb, Ulster Bank’s head of personal banking, said: “The new polymer notes last two-and-a-half-times longer than traditional cotton notes, making them more sustainable and environmentally friendly.

“Their advanced security features also make it easier for customers to protect themselves from being a victim of fraud. And encouragingly, our research shows that the public do see polymer as more secure than the older notes.”