MEI technical support centre

MEI Releases Software Update to Accept New $5 Bill

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WEST 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 bill validators shipped by MEI will include the new software.

MEI worked closely with the Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) to design the new software, which 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 bill validators in the field. Most can be updated by using a bill programming handheld device. Product-specific instructions are available on MEI’s web site or by calling MEI customer service at 800-345-8215.

“Seamless and secure acceptance of new currency designs is critical to operators” said Jeff Jordan, executive vice president of MEI’s global vending and amusement business. “With MEI’s new recognition software, they 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 a note to about 8 cents.
  • The average lifespan of a $5 in circulation is 16 months, the shortest of any U.S. paper currency.
  • $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.

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