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The Reserve Bank released over 170 million new Australian five-dollar notes into circulation in September 2016, with an intricate design that was supposed to make the note harder to forge. Rather than simply hinder counterfeiters, the new $5 note has proven to be quite the headache for many customers and vendors, including electronic poker machines.
All over the country reports are popping up about machines that refuse to accept the new five-dollar note, chewing it up and spitting it out, or crumpling notes entirely as machines struggle to register the new plastic strip.
Pokies and other gambling machines are amongst the reported problems, with TAB vendors posting notices on their machines urging punters to either swap their new notes for the old five-dollar bills, or exchange their fivers for vouchers. While we at OnlinePokieGame.com previously reported that the new $5 note wouldn’t be compatible with some of the older pokie machines around Australia, the problem seems to be much more widespread than initially imagined.
The new five-dollar note has also been refused at big retailers, with K-Mart and Woolworth’s self-serve facilities reportedly struggling to accept the new currency. Some public transport companies have also fallen behind with the update, with Transport NSW taking three weeks before the Opal Card in Sydney was able to recognise the notes.
Vending machine operators around the country are facing numerous problems, with reports of over 100,000 machines failing to recognise the new note. Updating the firmware to register the new notes could collectively cost upwards of $20 million.
The president of the National Vending Association, Nick Aronis, told the Daily Telegraph, “The note reader starts to read the note and sees the clear strip, it identifies that as the end of the note and of course it can’t recognise it, so it spits it back out.”
Another vending machine operator, Bruce Davey, told Fairfax Media he faced an $18,000 bill to buy new note readers for 40 of his 550 machines whose manufacturers have yet to introduce the necessary software and hardware updates.
The new Australian five-dollar note features state-of-the-art anti-forge technology with a transparent plastic strip running vertically from top to bottom, along with tactile bumps to assist the vision impaired. The new design is peppered with yellow wattle, with many opposing its colourful new look. Each Australian note denomination is expected to receive a similar makeover in the coming years, so businesses face immense pressure to ensure their machines are equipped to accept the new notes.