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When will paper £20 notes and £50 notes be withdrawn and what is Bank of England advice if you have some?




The Bank of England is withdrawing paper £20 and £50 notes and will soon end their status as legal tender.

Anyone with the paper notes is being encouraged to spend or deposit them before the deadline, which has been announced this week. Here's everything you need to know:

The Bank of England has confirmed this week there is just a year left to use the old paper notes
The Bank of England has confirmed this week there is just a year left to use the old paper notes

When is the deadline?

The Bank of England will be withdrawing the legal tender status of the paper £20 and £50 notes after September 30 next year.

It is now encouraging anyone who has any paper notes remaining at home to begin spending them or alternatively deposit them at their bank or Post Office.

Artist Tracey Emin with the £20 note featuring Turner. Picture: Bank of England.
Artist Tracey Emin with the £20 note featuring Turner. Picture: Bank of England.

How many still exist?

There are approximately £9 billion worth of paper £20 and £15 billion worth of paper £50 notes still in circulation. As they are returned to the Bank of England, they are steadily being replaced with the new polymer £20 notes featuring J.M.W. Turner, and polymer £50 notes featuring Alan Turing.

After September 30 2022, the new polymer notes which have a more plastic-like feel to them, will be the only ones with legal tender status.

What happens to notes found after the deadline?

After September 30 next year people with a UK bank account will still be able to deposit any withdrawn notes into their account. Some Post Offices may also accept withdrawn notes as payment for goods and services or as a deposit to an account accessed via them.

The Bank of England will also continue to exchange all withdrawn notes. For more information on exchanging paper notes than no longer have legal tender status please see the Exchanging old banknotes page on its website by clicking here.

The new £20 is harder to counterfeit and will last longer than paper versions
The new £20 is harder to counterfeit and will last longer than paper versions

Why are they being replaced?

The new polymer £20 note was first issued in February 2020 and the new £50 notes arrived in June 2021. These notes allow, says the Bank of England, for more security features which make them harder to counterfeit. They are also resistant to dirt and moisture so can be kept in better condition for longer as they pass between hands. They also have tactile features within them to support blind and partially sighted people.

Bank of England 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 paper equivalents.

"So we want to remind the public that they have one year from today to spend their paper banknotes.”



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