Media Releases
Published Date: 30 April 2004

MAS Issues $10 Polymer Portrait Notes

Singapore, 30 Apr 2004...The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) today announced that it will introduce $10 polymer portrait notes into circulation on 4 May 2004.  To preserve public familiarity and minimise modifications to note handling machines, the design of the new polymer notes is similar to the current $10 paper portrait notes except for a few changes to incorporate security features unique to polymer technology. MAS will continue to issue the current $10 paper notes as part of a phased introduction of the new $10 polymer notes.
2   To date, 15 countries have introduced polymer notes in their currency system.  Among them Australia, New Zealand and Romania have fully replaced paper notes with polymer ones.  Polymer notes can last three to four times longer than paper notes as the notes are more resistant to dirt and are not easily torn.  They are therefore more cost-effective.  Their security features offer better protection against counterfeiting, particularly against digital counterfeiting e.g. scanners, colour printers and photocopiers.

3   For the above reasons, and the positive experience in countries that had adopted polymer notes, MAS is re-introducing polymer notes in Singapore.  Singapore introduced its first polymer notes in 1990.  The note lacked wide acceptance then as there were machine acceptance issues, the main one being the ability of ATMs to dispense these notes.  The public also found the notes springy, sticky and difficult to fold.  These problems have since been overcome with technological advances.  Printing has also become less costly and it is feasible to issue them more extensively.  The $10 denomination was selected as it is commonly used in cash payments.  It is also widely dispensed through ATMs and accepted at Cash Deposit Machines (CDMs).  Please see Annex A (114.8 KB) (PDF. 114KB) for further details.

Availability and Usage

4   As a start, MAS will issue $100 million worth of new polymer notes. Depending on public demand for them, more polymer notes will be issued subsequently.   The phased introduction will allow banks and businesses to fine-tune their machines and make the necessary adjustments gradually to avoid abrupt and costly changes.  For the launch, the notes will be available at seven banks and at selected ATMs and CDMs that they have calibrated to dispense and accept the notes.  The notes can also be used at the General Ticketing Machines (GTMs) at nine SMRT stations.  Please refer to Annex A for the list of banks and GTMs.

5   As the polymer notes are legal tender, they can be used for all cash transactions, including machines that have been calibrated to accept the notes.  The polymer notes can also be deposited at all commercial banks in Singapore.

Similarities and Differences

6   Most of the security features on the  $10 paper notes have been retained in the polymer notes, and both have a similar look and feel. They have the following similarities:

  • Portrait of Singapore's first President, the late Encik Yusof bin Ishak, on the front, and Sports' motif at the back
  • Same colour (predominantly red)
  • Same size (141 mm x 69 mm)

7   The main differences are in the additional security features that are unique to polymer notes. These are:

  • Two see-through windows - one on the top-left hand side, and the other at the bottom-right corner
  • A stylised gold Singapore Lion symbol with a hidden image, beside the top-left hand window.  An image of the Singapore Arms will appear at varying angles
  • The security thread now takes the shape of the Singapore island instead of a straight line

Please refer to Annex B (457.7 KB)  for details.

Commemorative Notes

8   MAS will also issue a limited edition commemorative $10 polymer note, each over-printed with the text "Commemorative First Issue by MAS".  Only 10,000 of these notes are printed and they will be sold at $35 each.  The public can submit their orders via the mail-order form found in The Straits Times and Lian He Zao Bao on 4 May 2004, or they can do so online through the MAS website. More details can be found on the MAS website and in the press advertisements.