The Bank of England will withdraw legal tender status of the paper £20 and £50 banknotes after 30 September 2022, and is urging anyone who has one to spend it or deposit it at a bank or Post Office.
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, 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.
After 30 September 2022 people with a UK bank account will still be able to deposit withdrawn notes into their account. Some Post Offices may also accept withdrawn notes as payment for goods and services or as a deposit to an account accessed via them. The Bank of England will continue to exchange all withdrawn notes.
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 paper equivalents. So we want to remind the public that they have one year from today to spend their paper banknotes.”
The new polymer £20 was first issued on 20 February 2020, and the polymer £50 note was first issued on 23 June 2021. These notes complete the Bank of England’s first polymer series. The introduction of polymer banknotes allows for a new generation of security features which make them even harder to counterfeit. The notes are also resistant to dirt and moisture and so remain in better condition for longer. These notes also have tactile features that allow the blind and partially sighted to use them.