Brits warned they have only six months to spend paper £20 and £50 Bank of England banknotes

There are around £7 billion worth of paper £20 banknotes and £10.5 billion worth of paper £50 notes still in circulation

Published

People and businesses have just six months left before paper £20 and £50 Bank of England banknotes lose their legal tender status.

The Bank will be withdrawing the legal tender status of the paper £20 and £50 notes after September 30 2022, and it is encouraging anyone who has them at home to spend or deposit them at their bank or Post Office.

There are around £7 billion worth of paper £20 banknotes and £10.5 billion worth of paper £50 notes still in circulation.

They are being replaced with the new polymer versions as they are returned.

The new polymer £20 was first issued on February 20 2020, and the polymer £50 note was first issued on June 23 2021.

File photo dated 24/01/18 of UK bank notes, as average wages would be 76 a week higher if growth had kept pace with an international average since the financial crisis, a new study suggests.
File photo dated 24/01/18 of UK bank notes, as average wages would be 76 a week higher if growth had kept pace with an international average since the financial crisis, a new study suggests.

Once the September 30 deadline has passed, people will no longer be able to spend Bank of England paper notes in shops, or use them to pay businesses.

People with a UK bank account will still be able to deposit withdrawn notes into their account.

Some post offices may also accept withdrawn notes as payment for goods and services or as a deposit to an account accessed via them.

The Bank of England will continue to exchange all withdrawn notes.

The Bank of England’s chief cashier Sarah John said: “Over the past few years we have been changing our banknotes from paper to polymer, because these designs are more difficult to counterfeit, whilst also being more durable.

“A large number of these paper notes have now been returned to us, and replaced with the polymer £20 featuring the artist JMW Turner, and the polymer £50 featuring the scientist Alan Turing.

“However if members of the public still have any of these paper notes in their possession, they should deposit or spend them whilst they can.”