I wrote this post back in 2007, so some of the information is woefullly out of date now. You can no longer buy tram “tickets,” since Melbourne has changed to the controversial Myki cards. And I’m sure there are many more countries that have switched to plastic money now.

Down Under

They have funny money here in Australia.   The notes come in peculiar colors and they are very, very slippery.  As if to make up for the apparent flimsiness of the the bills, the coins range from the insubstantial five and ten cent pieces to the heavyweight hitters of the coin world– the one and two dollar coins.  The two dollar coin is like a small, brass-colored black hole in the monetary universe.  It is useful for tram tickets and parking, built like a tank.

The reason for the slipperiness of the notes is the material they are made of– polymer.  It is plastic money.  Australia was the first country to switch over completely to the durable stuff.  It lasts four times as long as paper money, is difficult to counterfeit, and it can be recycled.  So far, it Australia  has turned on sixteen countries to the advantages of plastic notes.

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