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Deadline to use paper £20 and £50 banknotes

The Bank of England will be withdrawing legal tender status of the old paper £20 and £50 banknotes at the end of September

After 30 September, paper £20 and £50 banknotes will no longer be legal tender. Anyone who still has old paper notes needs to use them or deposit them at their bank or a Post Office during these last 100 days.

In total, there are over £14bn worth of old paper notes still in circulation.

There are an estimated £6bn worth of paper £20 notes featuring the economist Adam Smith, and over £8bn worth of paper £50 banknotes featuring the engineers Boulton and Watt, in circulation. That is more than 300 million individual £20 banknotes, and 160 million paper £50 banknotes.

Covid-19 accelerated the digital transition, but cash is still important and accounts for nearly one fifth (17%) of all payments in 2020, totalling £6.1bn in transactions.

It is exactly one year since the Bank issued the polymer £50 banknote featuring the scientist Alan Turing, on what would have been his 109th birthday. The Turing £50 completed the set of polymer notes, with all denominations (£5, £10, £20 and £50) now printed on polymer.

Speaking ahead of the date, the Bank of England’s chief cashier Sarah John said: ‘Changing our banknotes from paper to polymer over recent years has been an important development, because it makes them more difficult to counterfeit, and means they are more durable.

‘The majority of paper banknotes have now been taken out of circulation, but a significant number remain in the economy, so we’re asking you to check if you have any at home. Until 30 September, these can still be used or deposited at your bank in the normal way.’

Full information can be found on the Bank of England website here

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