Bank of England gives one-month warning to use old £20 and £50 notes

·3 min read
British paper £20 and £50 banknotes will soon be taken out of circulation and be entirely replaced by the new polymer versions. (Getty)
British paper £20 and £50 banknotes will soon be taken out of circulation and be entirely replaced by the new polymer versions. (Getty)

The Bank of England has warned that the deadline to use 'old style' paper £20 and £50 notes is just four weeks away.

Britons have until Friday, 30 September 2022, to spend the paper versions of the currency before they are withdrawn from circulation and no longer accepted as legal tender.

Polymer £20 notes have been in circulation since February 2020, and the £50 notes since June 2021.

But those who choose to stash cash at home may have paper notes piled up that need spending or exchanging, and back in March the Bank of England said there was still £7 billion worth of £20 notes and £10.5 billion worth of £50 notes in circulation.

Posting on its official Twitter page, the Bank of England urged people to check their cash and ensure they spend or exchange their old paper notes before the deadline.

In light of the current cost of living crisis, unusable notes could leave households even shorter on cash as winter approaches.

The Bank of England has warned that the deadline for spending paper £20 and £50 notes is approaching. (Twitter/Bank of England)
The Bank of England has warned that the deadline for spending paper £20 and £50 notes is approaching. (Twitter/Bank of England)

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When do the old £20 and £50 notes expire?

The last day to use the paper £20 and £50 notes is September 30, 2022. After this date these paper notes will no longer be legal tender and will no longer be accepted in shops.

How can I exchange my paper notes?

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

However, after this date, many UK banks will still accept withdrawn notes as deposits from customers. Some Post Offices may also accept withdrawn notes as a deposit into any bank account you can access with them.

The Bank of England will always exchange any withdrawn notes, including paper notes it has removed in the past.

Paper £20 will be legal tender until 30 September 2022. (Getty)
Paper £20 will be legal tender until 30 September 2022. (Getty)

How do I know a note is genuine?

Polymer notes are much harder to replicate, meaning there is less chance of being handed a counterfeit note, but it can happen.

On a genuine £20 note you will see a hologram in the bottom left-hand corner and the word will change between ‘Twenty’ and ‘Pounds’ when the note is tilted. Another security feature is the Queen's portrait in the see-through window - a portrait of the monarch is printed on the window with '£20 Bank of England’ printed twice around the edge.

For more security advice on how to check if a note is genuine, see the Bank of England advice pages here. The website also offers advice on checking for counterfeits when handling the old style paper money too.