New $100 bill is fine; dollar coins not

May 27, 2013, 2:38 PM GMT+0

More Americans like the new $100 bill than don't, but far fewer are open to other changes to the currency, such as replacing dollar bills with dollar coins

Last month, the Fed announced that a redesigned $100 bill, three years in making, would enter circulation later this year. The new bill features such security devices as holograms, raised printing and color changing ink to protect against counterfeiting.

New research from YouGov shows that Americans approve of the new design by a small margin. When shown pictures of the new and old bills, 48% say they prefer the new $100 bill, while 39% say they prefer the older one.

Interestingly, there was a heavy partisan divide on the issue. Democrats supported the new $100 bill 55% to 36%, while Republicans favored the current one, 49% to 42%.

While the $100 might be an iconic denomination, how many people regularly use them? According to the same poll, 29% of Americans had held a $100 bill in the last week and more than half (54%) had held one in the last three months.

The number who had held a $100 bill was larger, for example, than those who had held recently another lesser used piece of currency: the dollar coin. 14% reported holding a dollar coin in the last week and 35% said they had done so in the last three months.

A majority of Americans also backed at least one other proposal to more radically redesign the currency. The most popular were having different bill denominations be different colors so they can more easily distinguished (selected by 35%) and eliminating pennies from circulation (30%).

Least popular of the choices was the one which has already been tried multiple times: replacing dollar bills with dollar coins. Only 12% selected it, the same number who supported having different denominations of bill be different sizes.

Among the proposals above, most are already in place in other countries. The Euro and the British Pound both differ in size and color based on the denomination, while Australia and New Zealand's currencies are made of an artificial polymer. Many countries use coins for denominations equivalent to one United States dollar and the GAO estimates using dollar coins would save the United States at least $150 million a year.

Full results can be found here.

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