Can I still use paper £20 and £50 notes? When The Bank of England will withdraw their legal tender status and what this means for spending
The Bank of England is set to withdraw the legal tender status of the paper £20 and £50 notes soon.
The new polymer £20 was first issued back in February last 2020, followed by the issuing of polymer £50 notes in June this year.
These notes complete the Bank of England’s first polymer series, intended to make notes harder to counterfeit.
The notes are also resistant to dirt and moisture and remain in better condition for longer, as well as having tactile features that allow the blind and partially sighted to use them.
The Bank of England will be withdrawing the legal tender status of paper £20 and £50 notes after 30 September 2022, giving people one year to use them or cash them in at their bank or Post Office.
Currently there are approximately £9 billion worth of paper £20 notes and £15 billion worth of paper £50 notes still in circulation.
As they are returned to the Bank of England, these are being replaced with the new polymer £20 notes featuring J.M.W. Turner, and polymer £50 notes featuring Alan Turing.
After 30 September 2022 the new polymer notes will be the only ones with legal tender status.
Speaking ahead of the date, the Bank of England’s Chief Cashier Sarah John said:
“In recent years we have been changing our banknotes from paper to polymer because this makes them more difficult to counterfeit, and means they are more durable.
The polymer £20 featuring the artist J.M.W. Turner, and the polymer £50 featuring the scientist Alan Turing are now in wide circulation, and we are in the process of withdrawing their
So we want to remind the public that they have one year from today to spend their paper banknotes.”
The Bank of England will continue to exchange all withdrawn notes, however they will not be accepted as currency in shops and for goods and services.
For more information visit The Bank Of England's website.
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