NEW! Our Hero’s Journey tool can help you with your next step towards financial freedom - click here to try now.
Advertiser Disclosure

6 surprising facts about money that will leave your head spinning

6 surprising facts about money that will leave your head spinning
Image source: Getty Images.

Here’s a well-known fact about money: we all need it. We earn it, we spend it, we save it. Money has been an intrinsic part of our lives for thousands of years – sometimes with very funny and unexpected consequences.

Plot your path towards financial freedom with our Hero’s Journey tool!

MyWalletHero is here to help you learn about taking control of your money, whether that’s paying off debt, working towards a short-term money goal, or investing for your future.

This tool can help you understand the next steps on your journey – simply choose a goal that best describes your current interests to get started.

Here are some surprising facts about money that will have you looking at your banknotes in a completely new light.

1. There’s a reason your money smells

No, you’re not crazy. It’s a fact that money has a distinctive aroma. But where exactly does it come from? Simply put, the smell of money is the result of a combination of volatile organic chemicals present in the special paper and the ink used to print money.

The smell is distinctive enough that dogs can be trained to recognise it to catch people travelling with too much cash.

2. Sterling is the most counterfeited currency

According to the Great American Coin Company, the British pound is counterfeited more often than the dollar and a lot more frequently than the Euro.

This isn’t a new phenomenon either. Apparently, people have been forging British banknotes for a very long time. During the Second World War, the Nazis even had a plan to drop counterfeit British notes over England in an effort to destabilise the economy, according to Smithsonian Magazine.

3. It is legal to burn money … but only sometimes

If you’ve heard that burning money is illegal, that fact is only partially right. If you burn money completely – as in, all the way into ashes – then you’re fine. However, it is illegal in the UK to deface money, and that includes partially burning banknotes. This is because partially destroyed banknotes can end up back in circulation even though they’re no longer legal.

Could you be rewarded for your everyday spending?

Rewards credit cards include schemes that reward you simply for using your credit card. When you spend money on a rewards card you could earn loyalty points, in-store vouchers airmiles, and more. MyWalletHero makes it easy for you to find a card that matches your spending habits so you can get the most value from your rewards.

4. The Chinese invented paper money

Coins have been around for a long time, but paper money is a relatively new thing.

It was used first in 7th century China among merchants only. By the 11th century, it was being widely used because a copper shortage made it difficult to produce enough coins. In fact, even Marco Polo was accepting the equivalent to very early paper money in the 1300s. 

Paper currency didn’t appear in Europe until 500 years later. Sweden was the first country to use it in 1661. 

5. You can play a vinyl record with the new £5 note

How’s that for a fascinating fact about money? The new £5 note is made of polymer, a thin plastic material that lasts much longer than regular paper money.

Because of its composition, the edges of the banknote are sharp enough that it can replace a stylus needle. 

6. It’s possible to get £1 million banknotes

Technically speaking, you would have to be a bank to have access to them, but £1 million notes are available. In fact, for financial institutions with a big enough net worth, it’s even possible to get £100 million notes.

Neither note is actually in general circulation, but they are regularly deposited in the bank of England by commercial banks in Scotland and Northern Ireland to back up everyday notes.

Are you making these 3 common investing mistakes?

These all-too-common investing errors can cause you to miss out on the long-term wealth-building power that shares can hold….

To help you side-step these pitfalls, and move forward on your path to wealth-building, we’ve created a free report, “The 3 Worst Mistakes New Investors Make”.

Just enter you best email below for instant access to your free copy.

By checking this box and submitting your email address, you agree to MyWalletHero sending you emails with money tips, along with details of products and services that we think might interest you. You can unsubscribe from future emails at any time. You also consent to us processing your personal data in line with our privacy policy, and our cookie statement. For more information, including how we collect, store, and handle personal data, please read our Privacy Statement and Terms & Conditions.

Some offers on MyWalletHero are from our partners — it’s how we make money and keep this site going. But does that impact our ratings? Nope. Our commitment is to you. If a product isn’t any good, our rating will reflect that, or we won’t list it at all. Also, while we aim to feature the best products available, we do not review every product on the market. Learn more here. The statements above are The Motley Fool’s alone and have not been provided or endorsed by bank advertisers. John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. The Motley Fool UK has recommended Barclays, Hargreaves Lansdown, HSBC Holdings, Lloyds Banking Group, Mastercard, and Tesco.