by Dan Spoone
On June 8, 2023, the ACB leadership team continued discussions with the Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) in furtherance of the progress made at the ACB “Show Me The Money” Rally for accessible and inclusive U.S. paper currency held on March 10, 2023. ACB leaders held a meeting with the BEP Director, Leonard Olijar, and his staff immediately before the rally. At that meeting, the BEP team shared a production quality sample of the new $10 reserve note with raised tactile features (RTF) and large print numerals. The $10 note is the first in a new family of bills that will include the raised tactile features. The $10 note is scheduled for release in 2026, the $50 note in 2028, the new inclusive Harriet Tubman $20 note in 2030 and the $5 note in 2032. The entire currency family will be designed with the new advanced counterfeit protocol approved by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen in January 2023. In the pre-rally meeting, Olijar promised the ACB leadership team that there would be a follow-up meeting at the end of May to discuss the progress on the testing of the new $10 note, and at this time, the BEP would share the key project milestones to complete the rollout of the $10 note by 2026.
Olijar was true to his promise, and ACB was invited to a follow-up meeting at the BEP headquarters on June 8, 2023 to review key milestones, provide a progress report and tour the BEP facility.
The June meeting was attended by ACB’s interim executive director Dan Spoone, advocacy and governmental affairs director Clark Rachfal, advocacy specialist Swatha Nandhakumar, administrative assistant Kaitlyn Herrera, attorney Jeff Lovitky, BEP Director Leonard Olijar, BEP Deputy Director for the Dallas/Fort Worth facility Charlene Williams, BEP Advanced Counterfeit Deterrence (ACD) Group Representative Justin Draheim, BEP General Counsel Heather Book, BEP Communications Director Teresa Fynes, and several BEP staff members. The BEP team communicated that the final decision to go into production with the new $10 note will be the responsibility of the Federal Reserve Board. The BEP plan is to have the $10 note with the new raised tactile feature produced in sufficient quantities and ready for distribution by the fourth quarter of 2026.
Currently, the BEP is in the third trial of the feasibility test to verify over 400 requirements for the counterfeit protocols and other functionality for the $10 note. The feasibility test phase is planned to be completed by fall of 2023. Once this key milestone is completed, the BEP must execute a Technical Inspection Quality (TIQ) test for quality assurance. The final internal test for the BEP is the large-scale full production test to stress test the equipment at full production capacity. Once these three tests have been completed, the BEP is still two years from having the $10 note ready for delivery to the Federal Reserve Board. Next, the production-ready $10 note must be shared with the Bank Equipment Manufacturers (BEM). There are nine major BEM companies that produce approximately 80% of the equipment. There are another 80 to 90 companies that own the other 20% of the market. These BEM companies must modify their bank equipment to function with the new $10 note. Most of these companies have experience with raised tactile features from tactile currencies in other countries. It is the responsibility of these manufacturers to adjust their software and hardware to work with U.S. currency. The BEP has already begun the conversation with these manufacturers, so they will not be surprised. The final two milestones are creating a communications plan to educate the public throughout the world about the new $10 note. U.S. currency is used as the official currency in more than 30 countries, and it is truly the currency of the world, with 56 billion notes in circulation around the world. Finally, the Federal Reserve Board will make the decision to move the new $10 notes into circulation. Once the new $10 note has been released, it will take around five years to replace the current $10 note.
ACB plans to hold their next meeting with the BEP staff in October, after the feasibility test is finished. ACB is excited with the progress the BEP is making. We will continue to hold regularly scheduled meetings with the BEP to monitor progress. We are still a little over three years away from realizing a dream we have been pursuing for over 50 years. The ACB leadership team will keep our members informed with the BEP’s progress through each key milestone. Keep advocating! We are truly changing the world for our blind and low vision community!