On Issuing a New 5-lats Banknote

Press Release of  October 9, 2006

As of October 12, 2006, the Bank of Latvia will issue new 5-lats banknotes that slightly differ from the previous ones. As previously with banknotes of other denominations the Bank of Latvia increases their stock to meet the demand for banknotes and enhances their security against counterfeiting at the same time. All banknotes and coins issued by the Bank of Latvia constitute legal tender in the Republic of Latvia.

As of October 10-23, several television channels will broadcast an informative clip about the new banknote to remind the public also of the security features that are easy to spot without any auxiliary devices. Information on the new 5-lats banknotes and their security against counterfeiting is also available on the Bank of Latvia's website under Latvian Money.

Why do we need a new 5-lats banknote?
It was necessary to issue a new 5-lats banknote to meet the demand for banknotes of this denomination. The useful life of a banknote is 1-5 years depending on the intensity of its use. Currently, the growth of cash in circulation is exceeding 20% a year. The Bank of Latvia sees to it that clean and high quality banknotes are circulated. For example, in 2005 9 million 5-lats banknotes were removed from circulation and destroyed and a total of 119 million banknotes have been destroyed since 1993.

What are the distinctive features of the new banknote?
Firstly, the new banknote will incorporate better security features against counterfeiting.

The banknote incorporates a new security feature that has not been used in the 5-lats banknotes before - an embedded mark. On the obverse of the banknote the nominal "5", repeated twice, is incorporated above the see-through register (a stylised representation of an oak-leaf).

The optically variable ink is used for printing the nominal "5" on the obverse of the new banknote that produces an optical effect of changing colours depending on the angle of viewing.

These security features have been used only in the newest 20-lats banknotes until now, the optically variable ink - also in the 500-lats banknotes.

Secondly, the year of issue of the new banknote is 2006. There is the facsimile signature of the Governor of the Bank of Latvia Ilmars Rimsevics on the banknote.

What are the main security features of the lats banknotes?
All banknotes incorporate similar security features:

- a watermark, the portrait of a Latvian folk-maid in profile;
- a metallic Clear Text Window Thread (with or without holographic lettering of the denomination) is incorporated in the paper across the full width of the reverse of the banknote; the Clear Text Window Thread of the newest banknotes are iridescent;
- a latent image - the denomination is incorporated in the ornamental band, which is composed of the motif of Lielvārde belt and is visible when the banknote is viewed at an oblique angle to catch the light.

There are still other security features that can be detected without any special auxiliary devices, for example, those incorporated in the new 5-lats banknotes mentioned above. Information on these security features is available on the Bank of Latvia's website under Latvian Money.  

Should I exchange the existing banknotes for the new ones?
In future, the 5-lats banknotes issued in 1992, 1996, 2001 and 2006 will be in circulation. All these banknotes are legal tender in the Republic of Latvia. The Bank of Latvia will continue to remove from circulation and destroy only those banknotes that are damaged and whose quality has deteriorated. The 5-lats banknotes of previous issues, which are still of high quality, will not be destroyed at the Bank of Latvia, but will be returned to circulation via commercial banks. It is not necessary to exchange the old banknotes for new.  

Where are the new 5-lats banknotes printed?
The new 5-lats banknotes are printed by the same company that printed the previous Latvian banknotes, i.e., Giesecke & Devrient, Germany.

Will there be any other new banknotes and changes in their design?
Should it become necessary to print additional issues of banknotes of other denominations, it is expected that such banknotes will have some new security features, but no significant changes in their design are currently planned.

What should I do if I encounter refusal to accept lats and santims as payment?
All banknotes put into circulation by the Bank of Latvia are legal tender in the Republic of Latvia. If a person settles a payment in a shop, institution or with any other legal person refusing to accept a 5-lats banknote or a lats banknote of other denomination in circulation, the State Revenue Service should be notified. Persons refusing to accept lats and santims as payment for goods and services face a penalty of up to 50 lats in accordance with the Republic of Latvia Administrative Offences Code. The amount of penalty will increase if such an action is established to have taken place repeatedly.