By: Zack Nouredine
Canada’s most commonly used bank note, the $20 bill, has undergone a plastic makeover and it’s frustrating those within Algonquin’s campus.
Why – Because the new design cannot be detected by many counters and ATMs; a concern which could grow as the new notes’ circulation expands in the coming months.
The emotions can be seen around the college campus in every building with a vending machine and a student with a new $20 oblivious to the fact that the machines don’t read them.
Michael Simpson, 20, a music industry student at the college relies on his energy drinks to keep him on top of 8 a.m. classes. Like many others, 20s are what he carries.
“I’ve never had to put a $50 or a $100 bill in a vending machine because I’ve never wanted that many Monsters, or loonies,” said Simpson. “I find it funny that many of the ATM’s around campus are dispensing the new ($20 dollar polymer notes) yet none of the vending machines accept them. I’ve tried countless times.”
Simpson is not alone with his frustrations.
Zubin Patel, 22, a business student at the college ran in to a different situation while having his usual, leisurely drinks at the college’s bar.
“I was at the Observatory for afternoon drinks when I encountered my first problem with the (bank) notes,” said Patel. “I went to pay for my drinks and handed the bartender two $20 bills by accident. They stuck together and I never even noticed. Luckily, I’m a good tipper so the gentleman across the counter noticed quickly and handed me one of the $20 bills back as he joked about how I wasn’t the first to make such a mistake.”
Not only do machines reject them, but the polymer material used to make the new series of bills has a sticky consistency when fresh from a machine.
Kevin Reeves, 22, an HVac student in his second year of studies says the issue goes as far as affecting his occasional commute to and back from the college.
“I don’t drive in to classes much,” said Reeves.
“But, when I do it’s because I have a full day workload and the last thing I want to do is take an hour long bus ride after a 12-hour Wednesday.”
Reeves speaks of the park-and-pay lots behind the P-building, where students pay upon leaving the lot through a machine which takes both bills and credit cards.
“Just last week, at the end of one of my days, I tried paying with one of the new twenties and the machine kept rejected them,” said Reeves. “It’s very frustrating, especially when it’s 10 p.m. and there’s no one in sight to help you out. I’ll have to carry pockets full of change from now on and park in the lots closer to the soccer dome until something is done about it.”
The Bank of Canada has released statements saying it will gradually start a transition of equipping the public with new technology, but it’s not likely the change machines and beverage dispensers around Algonquin College are at the top of their priority list.
Brent Brownlee, general manager of food services at Algonquin had no comment on the issue.
The Bank of Canada has also announced the revision of the remaining denominations – $5 and $10 bills – to be released by the end of 2013.