6
Implementation Strategies

If denomination features are to be incorporated into U.S. banknotes, the major objectives of the implementation strategy should be to ensure that:

  • those features incorporated become available in a timely and cost-effective manner;
  • the new banknotes can cocirculate with the old;
  • counterfeit-deterrent features already present in the new banknotes or planned for the near future are not compromised by the additional features; and
  • an adequate and extensive public education program is undertaken, so that all visually disabled individuals and the general public learn how to use these new features.

Introduction of the new design will begin with the issue of the new $100 bill by 1996, which will be followed by designs for the lower denominations at a rate of approximately one denomination design per year (Church, 1994). As stated by representatives of the Treasury Department and BEP when they introduced the new banknote design (see Appendix F), each denomination banknote in a sequence does not need to have all the same features, either for counterfeit deterrence or for denomination by visually disabled people. In this case, features that the committee recommends for intermediate term implementation (three to five years) may be incorporated within the current redesign sequence. In addition to the current redesign effort, in the future banknote designs will be changed at more frequent intervals than they have been previously, mostly to deter counterfeiting resulting from rapidly improving technology. By the time of the next redesign of the $100 banknote, features that are recommended for long-term research may have matured to the point of implementation.

The BEP may choose to include features that are more expensive to implement only in the higher denomination banknotes, even though the technology is currently available. For example, the polyester security thread introduced in the 1990 series of banknotes is not expected to be incorporated into the $1 bill because of its cost. It would, however, be worthwhile to ensure the incorporation of some features in the more frequently used banknotes (the lower denominations).

Feature Implementation

This subsection has been divided into three parts. The first deals with features that can be implemented in a very short time because they require only psychophysical determinations and



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--> 6 Implementation Strategies If denomination features are to be incorporated into U.S. banknotes, the major objectives of the implementation strategy should be to ensure that: those features incorporated become available in a timely and cost-effective manner; the new banknotes can cocirculate with the old; counterfeit-deterrent features already present in the new banknotes or planned for the near future are not compromised by the additional features; and an adequate and extensive public education program is undertaken, so that all visually disabled individuals and the general public learn how to use these new features. Introduction of the new design will begin with the issue of the new $100 bill by 1996, which will be followed by designs for the lower denominations at a rate of approximately one denomination design per year (Church, 1994). As stated by representatives of the Treasury Department and BEP when they introduced the new banknote design (see Appendix F), each denomination banknote in a sequence does not need to have all the same features, either for counterfeit deterrence or for denomination by visually disabled people. In this case, features that the committee recommends for intermediate term implementation (three to five years) may be incorporated within the current redesign sequence. In addition to the current redesign effort, in the future banknote designs will be changed at more frequent intervals than they have been previously, mostly to deter counterfeiting resulting from rapidly improving technology. By the time of the next redesign of the $100 banknote, features that are recommended for long-term research may have matured to the point of implementation. The BEP may choose to include features that are more expensive to implement only in the higher denomination banknotes, even though the technology is currently available. For example, the polyester security thread introduced in the 1990 series of banknotes is not expected to be incorporated into the $1 bill because of its cost. It would, however, be worthwhile to ensure the incorporation of some features in the more frequently used banknotes (the lower denominations). Feature Implementation This subsection has been divided into three parts. The first deals with features that can be implemented in a very short time because they require only psychophysical determinations and

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--> field testing. The second concerns those features that require some technological development that would be followed by psychophysical studies and field tests. The third treats features that cannot be implemented given the current state of worldwide technology. Advanced and fundamental research and development must be successfully completed before serious consideration of such a feature would be possible. Near Term (1 To 3 Years) Some features, such as dimensional changes, large numerals, and appropriate use of color, can be incorporated into the present currency redesign. Other features, such as denominational holes, can be added to near-term banknote changes in a orderly manner without unduly delaying currency redesign and issuance. Dimensional Changes The technology required to produce banknotes that are sized differently depending on denomination is very well known and widely used. By choosing the most frequently printed banknote, the $1 bill, to be the smallest, there will be savings in the cost of materials that may well offset the increase in cost of capital investment and additional operations required for producing a set of graded size currencies, as discussed in Chapter 4. Implementation of this feature would require careful planning and a great deal of notification about upcoming changes for all who are involved in the design or manufacture of cash-handling machines. For example, the sorting machines at the Federal Reserve and commercial currency dispensing and reading machines will have to be altered. The widespread use of machines in Europe capable of handling a variety of national currencies indicates that this alteration would not be a technical problem and might be accomplished through the natural periodic replacement of currency machines. If two-dimensional size changes are not to be used, a possible implementation strategy might be to change only the length of the banknote with denomination. Since banknote height is more critical for machine handling than banknote length, this strategy should minimize the impact of a size change on the variety of cash-handling machines. As always, there are other issues that need to be considered. U.S. banknotes have been the same size for at least 65 years, and there may, therefore, be a reluctance on the part of the population to change. On the other hand, U.S. coins are very easy to differentiate, because their size, feel, composition, edge treatment, and color are all different. Acceptance of this size differentiation in coins is complete by the American population and so, with sufficient preparation, might be acceptance of a change to size-denominated banknotes. Education of the public about the reasons for the size changes and the benefits of having size-denominated banknotes would help the population accept the inconveniences associated with this change. With size-denominated banknotes there is the possibility of using a template or guide to learn the size/denomination code. In the early stages of distributing sized banknotes, these templates must be readily available, so a part of the implementation strategy for this feature

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--> should include the distribution of appropriate templates. The templates should be distributed free of charge, through the banks, as in England, or through other appropriate organizations, as in Canada. The potential for using such devices to advertise products or services should also be considered. Holes The technology for producing holes in paper is well known and often used outside the banknote production community. The capital equipment expenditure required, though not zero, is minimal. One of the significant potential advantages of holes is broad applicability, that is, across all visually disabled and normally sighted people. There are a number of psychological and traditional issues associated with putting holes into banknotes that were identified previously in this report. Education about the use and benefits of this feature would play a large part in its successful introduction. Another major implementation issue with using holes to denominate, whether by number of holes, hole shape, or hole location, would be cocirculation of banknotes containing this feature and older banknotes without holes. The possibility of punching holes in an old series $1 bill to imitate a $20 banknote of the new series cannot be overlooked, and a strategy to prevent this type of ''raising'' must accompany the introduction of the feature. The banknotes with the new design must contain another, less-counterfeitable feature to enable people who are blind to distinguish between the older and the newer banknotes. This accompanying feature may only serve to distinguish the new design banknotes from the older ones and does not need to contain any denomination information. For example, a tactile mark may be found that maintains enough distinction over the life of a banknote to serve as a "go/no go" indicator; the presence of this tactile mark would indicate that the banknote is of the new design and that the hole-denomination cue is appropriate. Large, High-Contrast Numerals The technology for producing numerals that are large and have high contrast is known. It would be relatively inexpensive to incorporate large numerals into the banknote design, and there is little or no capital equipment expenditure required. The issues are those of design, as the large numerals must be of high contrast against an uncluttered background in order to be effective for the largest number of visually disabled people. Very little education for the public would be necessary for this feature. The size and optical contrast of the numerals should be such that denomination is possible at a reasonable distance by people who are visually disabled so that their transactions are as effortless as those performed by normally sighted individuals. Large numerals with a highly contrasting background could be used to incorporate anticounterfeiting features, as long as the high contrast is maintained on a macroscopic scale. Such features should be incorporated into the overall banknote design in such a way as to minimize distraction from other security features in the banknote.

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--> Color As in the case of large numerals, the technology to implement this feature is well known; it can be inexpensive and easy to implement, and it does not require fundamental changes in the BEP's method of producing currency and capital equipment. The major technical decisions would be the selection of colors and the choice of appropriate inks. As with size-denominated banknotes, the most important implementation strategy should focus on public education. Denomination Aids Promotion of some of the types of devices mentioned in Chapter 5 (in the section on "Adaptation of Current Devices") by the issuing authorities should accompany the introduction of any visual-only features. Intermediate Term (Three to Five Years) Two types of features fit this category. One of them would be based on purely tactile features, and the other on devices that have some form of aural, visual, or tactile output. Tactile-Only As indicated in the previous chapters, a great deal appears to be unknown about the efficacy of tactile dots, lines, and entire characters in assisting visually disabled individuals to read the information. Assuming that the questions are resolved, implementation of these features will require the appropriate investment in equipment by the BEP. For either embossed or printed tactile features, as with holes, older banknotes without the feature could be modified to appear as if it were a newer banknote of higher denomination containing the feature. Again, implementation of these types of features would require that there be an independent method of distinguishing older-design banknotes from the newer-design ones. Printed transparent-ink tactile marks could be added in areas not occupied with intaglio printing. The amount of design change necessary to get a fully effective feature will depend on the design chosen but need not be great. Because of the minimal impact on design, the timing of this feature's incorporation is potentially flexible. If this feature is deemed to be effective after investigation, invisible tactile marks could be added to banknotes as the technology becomes available without major alterations in the banknote design. Devices Means for reading magnetic, conductive, and optical patterns instrumentally are well established, as is the technology required to convert the resulting electronic signals to aural,

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--> visual, or tactile information recognizable by the user. Such a device could also authenticate banknotes if enough sophistication were built into it. It is highly probable that, as such devices are improved, among the first uses would be point-of-sale applications, especially for blind or visually disabled individuals employed in positions that require them to handle currency on a daily basis. It would be desirable for all devices to accept and denominate banknotes independent of banknote orientation. Although the market for portable devices will ultimately be fairly large, it will probably not be considered a mass market for some time. The Treasury Department or BEP should consider working with device designers so that both the sensor technology and the banknote features are developed in parallel, enabling implementation of the full system with one design change. Long Term (More Than Five Years) It is virtually impossible to predict what technical advances in microelectronics, nanotechnology, materials and molecular electronics will make possible in the next few years, much less in more than five years. Therefore, staying abreast of advances in these areas and related ones and keeping in mind the related functions and characteristics that future banknote designs should satisfy appears to be the only feasible approach. One possibility that the committee considered is a banknote that has the built-in capability to indicate denomination by itself, sometimes referred to as "smart money." Such indication could be aural, visual, or tactile and could respond to a direct user stimulus such as touch. Implementation is very long range and dependent on a myriad of technical advances. Field Testing The results of the psychophysical technical work recommended in the previous chapter would indicate optimum characteristics of individual features and likely combinations. However, true effectiveness can only be determined by those who would ultimately use these features. The Treasury Department and Federal Reserve should involve appropriate user groups as early as possible to ensure selection of those features most likely to be used by, and useful to, the target population. New currency design is generally carried out with a high level of confidentiality. This confidentiality can be maintained in appropriate field test design by separate testing of individual features. Even though broadly based field tests utilizing all classes of visually disabled individuals are not practical, some evaluations in "real life" situations prior to introduction of new currency features are mandatory. The many organizations that represent people who are blind and people with various types of visual impairment represent a resource for performing limited field tests on a confidential basis. The test conditions should be as close as possible to everyday uses of currency but can be targeted to the evaluation of a single feature rather than the entire banknote design. The field test should be broad enough in scope to show that the new

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--> feature permits rapid, relatively effortless, and confidential banknote denomination under not only optimal conditions but also across a wide range of everyday circumstances. The nature of such tests and the means of handling the statistical data should be assigned to independent experts skilled in conducting such studies. The resulting data, combined with the results of the psychophysical investigations, can then be used to develop specifications for each feature that designers responsible for ultimately incorporating them will have to satisfy. The results of this type of testing could also be used to determine the extent and content of public education that will be needed for successful introduction of the tested feature. The analysis should include determining whether the banknote feature introduction will reduce the security of banknote use by visually disabled people. Any reduction in security, especially during the introductory phase of new banknotes, also needs to be addressed in the public education campaign. Conclusions and Recommendations Technologies are available now to include size denomination; large, high contrast numerals; and the use of color to denote denomination. Because of the current redesign schedule, it will be three to five years before the lower-denomination banknotes will be designed and produced. This schedule will make it possible to incorporate into those banknotes features that must still undergo some development and field testing (for example, durable tactile markings). Because banknote redesign can be anticipated on a more frequent cycle than in the past, the opportunity will return to redesign the higher denominations, in which features recommended for long-term research (e.g., "smart money") might be considered. Some features will not be cost-effective for inclusion in the design of lower-denomination banknotes, even though the technology to produce those banknotes is available today. However, features should be made available in the most frequently used banknotes (the lower denominations). For any of the features proposed, successful implementation would require a large public education program. The particulars of the program will depend on the features incorporated and can be determined from the results of field testing done prior to incorporation of the feature on a banknote. Cocirculation with older banknotes will be a problem for features that are basically a slight modification to the present design and can be easily simulated or added by a counterfeiter, such as punched holes. For these features, there must be another, less easily simulated feature implemented at the same time that will distinguish the new series banknotes from the older ones, although it might not necessarily carry denominational information itself. Tactile features printed with transparent ink can be implemented with minimal design changes and so offer some flexibility in timing the feature incorporation. It is highly likely that the types of auxiliary denomination devices suggested for the intermediate term (three- to five-year period) will be developed. However, there appears to be some question about whether the size and cost objectives for convenient denomination devices can be met in this short period of time. It is therefore likely that the first use and mass market

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--> will be for point-of-sale applications. The income from this market may very well encourage manufacturers to undertake the research and development required to substantially reduce size and cost. References Church, S. 1994. Personal communication from Sara Church, BEP, to the Committee on Currency Features Usable by the Visually Impaired.

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