Ulster Bank unveils vertical banknotes

Two polymer banknotes with a vertical orientation were recently unveiled by Ulster Bank, which operates both in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland as a Royal Bank of Scotland brand.

The new notes, which are the U.K. and Ireland’s first vertical banknotes, will enter circulation early next year. The new designs are based on the theme “Living in Nature” and were developed by a panel of experts and people from across the country.

“Our aim is to provide meaningful help for our customers, and even as behaviour changes, cash is still an important part of our economy and a recognizable way that people interact with their bank,” said Les Matheson, Ulster Bank CEO of personal and business banking. “These notes are a signal of our commitment to the heritage and brand of Ulster Bank in Northern Ireland, demonstrating that we are an active and engaged part of the communities that we serve.”


The £5 note focuses on Northern Ireland as a place that people pass through and visit, highlighting the importance of the sea and migration and features Strangford Lough and Brent Geese.

The £10 pound note focuses on Northern Ireland as a place of growth, both in terms of agriculture and heritage, and features Lough Erne, the Irish hare and Guelder-rose shrubs.

A king scallop from Strangford Lough also features on the notes, as does an Ulster Glade potato, developed in County Antrim.

“Innovation is at the core of our bank, whether that’s through digital technologies, in our face-to-face services, or these designs,” said Richard Donnan, head of Ulster Bank in Northern Ireland. “The notes will also contain advanced security features that will make the notes much harder to counterfeit – giving customers reassurance that their money is safe and secure.”

Northern Ireland banknotes are legal currency across the U.K.

Canada’s new $10 note, which will feature Black rights activist and Nova Scotia businesswoman Viola Desmond and will be issued later this year, is also vertically oriented.


Canada’s forthcoming $10 banknote featuring Black rights activist and Nova Scotia businesswoman Viola Desmond was unveiled this March in Halifax by Finance Minister Bill Morneau, Bank of Canada Governor Stephen S. Poloz and other special guests.

Once issued into circulation later this year, it will mark the first time a Canadian woman is portrayed on a regularly circulating Bank of Canada note.

The new $10 note will also be the first vertically oriented banknote issued in Canada. This will allow for a more prominent image of Desmond and differentiates this new $10 note from the current polymer notes.

Other countries with vertical notes include Switzerland, Bermuda, Israel, Venezuela, Argentina and Cape Verde.

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