Bank note reader - subject of recall

Bank Note Reader Program and Recall

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Ending the Bank Note Reader Program

As technology continues to evolve, the Bank of Canada has determined that there are more modern devices that can be used to denominate bank notes. As such, it has decided to phase out the bank note reader program.

Canada’s bank notes are supported by a number of accessibility features designed to help people who are blind or partially sighted recognize all five denominations with confidence. They include: the tactile feature, large high-contrast numerals and use of distinct colours for each denomination.

The Bank has also issued a recall of the latest model of the bank note reader to upgrade and improve its performance with the polymer notes currently in circulation.

Bank Note Reader Recall

A problem has been identified with the latest model of the bank note reader used to recognize denominations through machine readable codes. The model in question is the small rectangular device that has both Orbit Research and Bank of Canada logos on the front. The short edge of a bank note is partially inserted into this reader and a button is pushed to trigger denomination. It is the model that has been distributed by CNIB since March 2014.

A recall is being issued to upgrade and improve this bank note reader’s performance with the polymer notes currently in circulation. A “swap” approach will ensure that individuals are never without a device.

Those who’ve received this model of the reader will be contacted by telephone and informed of the recall. They will be asked to select one of two options:
1. If they wish to upgrade their reader, a new one will be shipped to them, along with a postage paid envelope to return the old device to the Bank of Canada; or
2. If they don’t use their reader, they will have the option to send it back. A postage paid envelope will be provided.

The Bank, in collaboration with CNIB, will recall the bank note readers in phases. The process is expected to be completed before the end of 2018.

A raised dot (also known as a bump-on) will be placed on the back of the bank note reader to identify it as an upgraded device. The dot will be placed at the end opposite the key ring, clear of the battery compartment and speaker.

No action or adaptation is required for individuals who use the older model of the bank note reader – this previous model was distributed from 1998 until 2013. The short edge of a bank note is fully inserted into this reader and it automatically triggers denomination. This model will also cease to be compatible with the next generation of vertical bank notes.

Mobile Applications

For those who use a smartphone or tablet, there are several applications that can be used. The Bank has evaluated apps currently on the market, and both Seeing AI and NantMobile Money Reader quickly and reliably denominate Canadian bank notes.

There are several benefits to using apps: they are free and easy to download and tryout; they are easy to update as new bank notes enter circulation; and instead of a single function device like the bank note reader, smartphones and tablets have built-in accessibility features that can be used for various needs.

More Information

General enquiries: call toll-free 1 800 303-1282 or email

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