Paper Money

Costa Rica finishes note conversion to new polymer series

The Central Bank of Costa Rica placed new 1,000- and 10,000-colón bank notes into circulation Oct. 15, and in doing so completed the transformation, begun in November, of its five-denominations of bank notes.

Images courtesy of the Central Bank of Costa Rica.

The Central Bank of Costa Rica placed new 1,000- and 10,000-colón bank notes into circulation on Oct. 15, and in doing so completed the transformation of its five-denomination bank note family of 1,000-, 2,000-, 5,000-, 10,000-, and 20,000-colón notes from cotton paper to polymer.

The entire new series was introduced within a year, starting with the 20,000-colón note on Nov. 26, 2020, then the 2,000- and 5,000-colón notes on Dec. 1. All notes have the same 67-millimeter height but increase progressively in width from 125 millimeters to 153 millimeters as the denominations increase.

As the switch is completed, one other change was implemented: The paper 50,000-colón note is no longer being printed. (To give one an idea of purchasing power for the notes, 1,000 colones are worth about $1.60.)

The new notes are similar in appearance to the old ones, with some variations in the intensity of colors, and the inclusion of large transparent security windows with color-changing holographic images, a more advanced security thread, and several other devices.

The bank also advised that the old 20,000-colón bills, made from a cotton substrate, will lose their spending power starting Jan. 1, 2022; the 5,000-colón note as of March 1; and the cotton 2,000-colón note on May 1. After those dates, only the polymer versions of those notes will be legal tender. The current cotton paper 1,000- and 10,000-colón notes will continue to be legal tender as a means of payment until the central bank establishes a date for their demonetization.

Even though the old bank notes will be out of circulation and cannot be used as legal tender for payment, they will be exchangeable at their face value at the Central Bank offices in downtown San Jose.

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