Plastic fantastic: The new fiver has gone into circulation today

Jake Cordell
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Mark Carney Unveils New Polymer Five Pound Note
The new fiver will be available at a handful of cashpoints (Source: Getty)

A mini revolution in British banking becomes reality today, with the most eagerly-anticipated launch of a bit of paper in living memory.

That's because this isn't just any old bit of paper. This is a Bank of England bit of paper. And, truth be told, it isn't even paper.

Read more: Who's going to be on the Bank of England's new £20 note?

The new £5 note or "The New Fiver", as the Old Lady's marketing team are insisting on calling it, launches today, featuring a picture of Winston Churchill and, for the first time ever, made of plastic.

According to Mark Carney, the Bank of England's governor, the new note is cleaner, safer, stronger, and resistant to dirt and moisture (they're also surprisingly sticky...).

In fact, the polymer bank notes will last two-and-a-half times as long, and will be rolled out across the country from today, with old notes featuring Elizabeth Fry to be phased out by May 2017.

"The new security features make it harder to counterfeit. While the use of polymer means it can better withstand being repeatedly folded into wallets or scrunched up inside pockets and can also survive a spin in the washing machine," Carney said. The thrill of it.

For those eager to get their hands on one, you'll need to head to one of a handful of cashpoints which will be dishing them out today.

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