With the Bank of England recently announcing that its paper-to-polymer transition will begin on 13 September with the new £5 note, cash management company Cashmaster International is reminding retailers to plan ahead of upcoming changes.

Cashmaster has introduced a ‘Be Polymer Ready’ upgrade pack which allows its UK customers to update their Cashmaster devices ready for the new notes. The software update also enables the devices for the new 12-sided one pound coin due for launch in March 2017.

Cashmaster says count-by-weight (CBW) cash counting is up to six times faster than manual counting, and is growing in popularity as retailers move to minimise time spent on reconciling sales and floats. In a climate where margins are tighter than ever, It says CBW devices help businesses work more efficiently and are proven to reduce losses or shrinkage, which can be a major issue for all retailers.

The new polymer notes are smaller than the paper versions, and with greater durability, they are estimated to last between three and five times longer than paper notes. They are also packed with innovative security features making them much harder to counterfeit.

Full details about the new fiver can be viewed at the Bank of England website www.thenewfiver.co.uk . Current paper £5 notes will be phased out by May 2017, when they will cease to be legal tender and no longer accepted in shops and banks.

Martin Harris from EAT, a leading retailer that’s been preparing for the new notes across more than 117 outlets, said: “Although 60% of our business is transacted by card, our sector is still handling large numbers of cash transactions. We also dispense a significant amount of £5 notes and £1 coins as change, so a lot of customers’ first contact with the new fiver could be in one of our cafes.

“As well as getting our cash-counting equipment ready for the change, we’ve invested time in staff training, which will be so important for a smooth introduction of the new notes. We’re also planning to display an in-shop electronic message to our customers during the week of the introduction, to make our customers aware of the changes and to avoid slowing queuing times.

“We worked with Cashmaster to prepare our business for the new notes and were reassured that, while there were some big changes coming, getting ready would be relatively straight forward. “

Gordon McKie, CEO of Cashmaster International, commented: “Up and down the country businesses are preparing for the roll-out of polymer notes. It’s likely to be one of the key changes facing the UK retail sector this year and beyond. Handling cash efficiently is the lifeblood of retailers of all sizes.

“Effective cash management allows retailers’ staff to spend more time with customers and underpins store security and profitability. The number of banks planning to offer polymer is gathering at pace and retailers need to act now to ensure they are ready for the changes. Our simple software solution will enable many of our existing customers to be polymer-ready.

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