Australia was the first country to have all polymer banknotes, but the rest of the world is
Paper banknotes wear out quickly, particularly if they get wet. They are also fairly easy to counterfeit despite security measures, such as watermarks and having metallic threads within the notes. The emergence of colour photocopiers and scanners has made it easier to reproduce paper money.
A great Aussie solution
John Flynn on the reverse side of a polymer Australian $20 note
Reverse of Australian $20 Note. John Flynn created the Royal Flying Doctor Service. Image courtesy Reserve Bank of Australia.
CSIRO and Note Printing Australia (part of the Reserve Bank of Australia) developed polymer money. The world's first polymer banknote was the $10 commemorative note issued in January 1988 to mark the Australian Bicentenary. By 1996, all Australians were using plastic money, and that doesn't mean whipping out their credit cards! The new bills are much more durable and have proven a challenge for counterfeiters.
starting to follow our lead. Note Printing Australia has produced banknotes for Thailand, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Kuwait, Western Samoa, Singapore, Brunei, Sri Lanka and New Zealand.
Blank polymer substrate is also sold to a number of countries that print bank notes using their own facilities. The material is supplied by Securency Pty Ltd, a joint venture between the Reserve Bank of Australia and Innovia Films. Together with CSIRO, they are pushing towards better polymer substrates and new tricks to outsmart counterfeiters.http://www.questacon.edu.au/indepth/clever/plastic_banknotes.html