20 facts about the new CHF20 note

Can be washed without losing its colour. There's been no comment about potential money laundering though. Swiss National Bank 2017

People in Switzerland have been getting their hands on the newest bank note, released into circulation on Wednesday, in the re-vamped currency series: the CHF20. Here are 20 points of information about the bills.

This content was published on May 17, 2017 minutes

The new notes are available from Wednesday at banks in Bern and Zurich and will be rolled out to banks across the country in the coming days.

The new note is smaller than the old one. According to the Swiss National Bank (SNB), that’s because it will be more efficient to produce and the size is more convenient for customers.

The new CHF20 has 15 security features including a Swiss cross and a colour-changing globe.

Won't fade away

The bank notes can be washed or left in the sun without losing their colour.

The note’s security ink is made at SICPA, a Lausanne-based company that makes ink for eight of every 10 bank notes in the world.

The Swiss National Bank (SNB) believes the CHF20 is the “most secure bank note in the world”, SNB vice president Fritz Zurbrügg said at its unveiling.

Production costs 40 cents per note, about 10 cents more than for the old note. However, the SNB says the new note will last longer because it’s thicker and more durable.

Banks have to upgrade their ATMs to accommodate the new note because of its different size. Most banks don’t communicate how much that costs, but a spokesperson for Valiant Bank told the 20 Minuten newspaper that it estimates the adjustments to run to about CHF250 per ATM. 

Ticket to ride

The Swiss Federal Railways ticket machines will be adjusted to accept the CHF20 notes via a simple software update. The cost of the update “is minimal”, according to a Railways spokesman.

The new note’s design is centred on the theme of “light” and its relationship with creativity and the creative process.

One side depicts the Locarno Film Festival, and the other shows iridescent butterfly wings.

The CHF20 note – and all others in the new series – were designed by Swiss artist Manuela Pfrunder. She got the gig by winning a contest.

Counterfeit proof

The bank notes are manufactured by Zurich-based Orell Füssli Secure Printing, which also makes all other Swiss bank notes and supplies notes and secure printing technologies to other countries. It is one of the world’s oldest printing companies.

Bank note printers’ monograms usually appear somewhere on the money. The monogram for Orell Füssli is “OFZ”. On the CHF20 note the full name “Orell Füssli printing” appears next to the serial number.

Old CHF20 notes, which depicted composer Arthur Honegger, will still be valid. They will be phased out at a later date.

Cash on hand

The new notes will be well-used, as people in Switzerland are generally heavy cash users. Many still withdraw cash to pay regular bills at post office counters, although electronic payment methods are gaining ground.

The colours of the various Swiss bank notes have remained nearly unchanged since 1910. The decision to make every denomination a different colour was made in order to easily distinguish between them.

The CHF20 bank note is not Switzerland’s most-used bill; that would be the CHF100 note, which will be the last to get a design makeover.

The CHF1000 note, which will get a new design just before the CHF100, is the highest-denomination bill in circulation anywhere in the world.

The next bank note to get an upgrade is the CHF10, which will be presented to the public on October 11 and enter into circulation on October 18.

We took a look at the difference between the old and new notes in a live video originally broadcast on our Facebook page.

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