Retailers, Equipment Vendors Get Set For New $10 Note

NEW YORK -- Retailers will have to make sure their cash acceptors are updated so that they can deal with the U.S. government's new, more secure design for the $10 note, which was revealed yesterday and will enter circulation in early 2006.

These new bills use more color and images, to stump counterfeiters, but occasionally they stump cash acceptors, too. Often, they may require a change to the pattern-recognition software behind the cash acceptors. That will mean that the industry runs the risk of the bills being rejected when their consumers try to pay for their merchandise, unless they update their equipment. When the new $20 note was released, some consumers had trouble completing transactions.

"While the reprogramming is not that difficult, sometimes the vendors that service the cash acceptors don't remember to update them at all locations," Susan Hinck, co-owner of Hinck's Economart, a single-store independent grocer in Ellsworth, Wis. "We're the only store in the area with cash acceptors at the pump, and our service guy forgot to tell us when the $20 note was changed, and we didn't realize it."

That is, until the new bill reached the hands of our customers, and didn't work. "Even after notifying him, we had to post a sign advising our customers not to use the new notes until the software was updated three weeks later," Hinck said.

Fortunately, many vendors of equipment that incorporates cash acceptors have been proactive in addressing the needed updates. NCR, Duluth, Ga., said it met with the Treasury Department last week to learn about the new bill and what adjustments it will have to make to its FastLane self-checkout units, which include cash acceptors.

In addition, Coinstar kiosk acceptors will be able to accommodate the new $10 bill, said Marci Maule, the Bellevue, Wash.-based company's public relations director. "We have a relationship with the Bureau of Engraving that allows us to get advance notice of new currency" Maule said. "We work in conjunction with our bill acceptor manufacturer to test the bills, and then once we're satisfied with the results, we upload the software update via our network to Coinstar machines that enable them to recognize the new bill."

The new $10 note, like the $20 and $50 notes introduced in 2003 and 2004, respectively, incorporates state-of-the-art security features to combat counterfeiting, including three that are easy to use by cash handlers and consumers alike: color-shifting ink, a watermark, and security thread.

"We expect to update currency every seven to ten years, so that we may continue to stay ahead of counterfeiters," said Treasury Secretary John W. Snow. "The enhanced security features built into this new $10 note design -- and into the $20 and $50 note designs that preceded it in the new series -- will help maintain global confidence in our currency going forward."
--Joseph Tarnowski
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