They may be made of plastic but, at many vending machines, the new $20 bills might bounce like they’re made of rubber.
Businesses that own the vending machines that dispense change or goods, as well as the ones at self-checkout kiosks, say many of them won’t accept the new bill until they have been reprogrammed or replaced.
"At times it seems this is an ongoing project — if it’s not a bill it’s a coin," Jim Jackson of Quality Vending and Coffee in Winnipeg, said on Monday.
"We started reprogramming our bill acceptors when the new $20 bill came out, but then the (federal government) released a change to the bill with the Queen’s chin in a different position. Now we are out reprogramming what we had already done and reprogramming the other ones.
"A lot of people have been affected by the changes... it’s an inconvenience for the consumer."
The government put out the new polymer bills in November because they last longer than the former paper-cotton ones and more anti-counterfeiting things could be incorporated into them.
So far more than 145 million new $20 bills have been put into circulation and the Bank of Canada is planning to similarly replace the $5 and $10 bills later this year.
Sabbir Kabir, a spokesman for the Canadian National Vending Alliance, said the federal government announced midway last month it was slightly modifying the bills, forcing some vending machine companies to begin reprogramming the machines a second time.
"It’s expensive to do it," Kabir said.
"It involves time, mileage, and a programmer."
John Graham, a Canada Safeway spokesman, said the company is in the process of reprogramming its self-checkout machines to accept the new $20 bill.
"Upgrading is scheduled to begin this week and will be completed across Canada by the end of the month," Graham said.
Jackson said with the newer machines all that’s needed is to reprogram the software, but older machines either have to have parts replaced or the machines need to be completely replaced.
"And with the new $5 and $10 bills, we’ll have to do it all over again later this year," he said.