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MEI Develops Software Update Allowing Vending and Amusement Machines to Accept New $5 Bill

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CHESTER, Pa., January 16, 2008 – MEI, the world’s leading developer of unattended payment systems, has developed recognition software for the new $5 bill entering circulation on March 13. Beginning Jan. 15, all products shipped by MEI will include the new software.
MEI worked closely with the Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) in designing the new recognition software. The software supports the multiple security levels incorporated in the new bill design to reduce the chance of fraud. MEI is releasing the software well ahead of the bill’s official launch date to give operators adequate time to update their existing products.
MEI offers operators several options to quickly upgrade their bill validators in the field. Operators can easily upgrade most MEI products with the software by using a handheld bill programming device. Product-specific instructions are available on MEI's Currency Upgrade web page at
“Seamless and secure acceptance of new currency designs is critical to vending and amusement operators” said Jeff Jordan, executive vice president of MEI’s global vending and amusement business. “With MEI’s new recognition software, operators can be confident that their products will accept the new $5 bill from the day it enters circulation.”
For high performance in both bill handling and security, MEI bill validators operate with optical sensing technology rather than magnetic technology. They reliably accept new, highly secure currency designs as well as earlier designs still in circulation.
About the New $5 Bills
The new $5 bills, like the $10, $20 and $50 notes introduced over the last few years, incorporate advanced security features to combat counterfeiting, including color-shifting ink, a watermark and security thread. These features are easy to use for consumers and cash handlers alike, and they will help to maintain global confidence in U.S. currency. To learn more about the new $5 bill, visit
According to the Federal Reserve and BEP:
  • Approximately 1.5 billion of the new $5 notes will be printed for its initial rollout.
  • The changes made to the $5 note will raise the cost of production from about 7 cents to about 8 cents.
  • The average lifespan of a $5 note in circulation is 16 months, the shortest of any U.S. paper currency. (A $100 note will last 89 months – more than 7 years.)
  • $5 notes represent about 9 percent of all U.S. paper currency.
About MEI
MEI, headquartered in West Chester, Pa., holds the world’s largest installed base of unattended payment systems, handling over 2 billion transactions per week in more than 100 countries. The company developed the first electronic coin mechanism in the 1960s, followed by the first electronic non-contact bill acceptor, and more recently its credit card capability and vending management solution. Recently, MEI reached a milestone of selling more than 4 million bill acceptors and 5 million coin mechanisms worldwide. Its products are in widespread use in the vending, soft drink, gaming, amusement, transportation, retail, and kiosk markets. For more information on MEI and its products, visit or call 800-345-8215.