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HomeBusinessUlster Bank’s new £20 named one of world’s best bank notes

Ulster Bank’s new £20 named one of world’s best bank notes

Ulster Bank’s new £20 note has been recognised by the International Bank Note Society (IBNS) as one of the world’s best bank notes of 2020.

The innovative note, whose design features flora and street musicians, was one of 100 new bank notes issued worldwide last year.

Just 24 of these notes were then nominated by some 2,000 IBNS members from around the globe for consideration for the society’s prestigious awards.

Ulster Bank’s £20 note was named third, behind Mexico’s new 100 Peso polymer bill, which was awarded first place, and Scotland’s Royal Bank of Scotland £20, which came second.

Voters placed a $5 bill from the Bahamas and a $50 note from Fiji in joint third position with the Ulster Bank £20 note.

Released in October 2020, the new £20 notes are vertically oriented, and the design was developed by a panel of experts and people from across NI.

Designed to reflect local music and culture, each note features street entertainers and their appreciative audience, as well as tiles, brickwork and patterns inspired by NI’s ubiquitous red-brick tenement buildings.

Other elements of the note are drawn from the ornate decoration found on and in famous public buildings, corporate architecture and domestic homes in Londonderry, Belfast and other cities in Northern Ireland.

The note also incorporates Derry’s much-loved Hallowe’en celebrations in their security features – under a UV light, skeletons and Leisler’s bat, the largest type of bat in Ireland, can be seen.

Terry Robb, Ulster Bank’s Head of Personal Banking, NI, said he was pleased the new note had captured the attention of the IBNS, particularly as it was the only design from Northern Ireland to be recognised.

“We have received really positive feedback around the new bank note since it came into circulation in October last year, but to be officially recognised as one of the top banknotes of the year is really the icing on the cake.

“Not only does the polymer note feature advanced security measures, it’s also much more sustainable, easier to recycle and cleaner for consumers to use.

“But it’s the unique nature of the design which has caught the attention of the judges and what we are most proud of.

“Throughout the whole design process we were keen that the new note would reflect part of our culture and heritage, celebrate our cities and above all, capture our commitment to enjoying ourselves.”

Mr Robb also added that at a time when digital change is happening quickly, people do still see a future for cash.

“More and more people are moving to digital forms of banking and transactions but there is still a strong appetite for cash and our research shows that many people still value traditional banknotes and see a future for them.

“To that end, we are committed to continuing to produce bespoke, local banknotes.”

n To view the full list of winning designs and learn more about their origins, visit



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