Huge jump in number of ATMs dispensing new bank notes

There has been a significant increase in the number of automated banking machines, commonly known as ABMs or ATMs, accepting and dispensing the new polymer series of banking notes.

In  June 2023, the Bank of Jamaica BoJ issued to the public J$11.5 billion worth of the entirely new series of banknotes.

However, days after the release of the new notes, business operators and members of the public began complaining bitterly about the low number of ATMs that had been configured to accept an dispense the notes.

The BoJ is now reporting major progress in the number of machines adapted to accept and dispense the new bank notes.

In its recent annual report, the central bank  confirmed that at the end of 2023, ninety-nine per cent of the entire fleet of machines  islandwide  had been configured to  dispense the new polymer bank notes.

Concurrently, the bank noted, 98 per cent of  so called intelligent ABMs have been configured to accept the new banknotes.

New bank notes are set to, over time, replace the  old cotton-based bank notes, some of which remain in circulation.

Meanwhile, the BoJ has explained that, due to the relatively short circulation of the new polymer banknotes, an accurate  measure of the  average circulation life of these new notes could not be determined at the end of 2023.

However, BoJ officials say it is expected that the longevity of the polymer notes will be at least  50 per cent greater than that of the old cotton-based notes.

In related news, the BoJ has stressed that counterfeit detection remains a priority for the oversight agency.

In its 2023 Annual report, the  BoJ  said last year it detected a total of 354  old counterfeit notes, representing a value of $700,000.

According to the bank, this outturn reflected a 6.9 per cent increase, relative to the 331 old notes detected in 2022.

The figure for 2023 was equivalent to 1.4 counterfeit bank notes  per million genuine bank notes in active circulation.

The BOJ said, at the ned of 2023, it had not detected any counterfeit new bank notes.

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