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Paper £20 and £50 banknotes will stop being legal tender after 30 September

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You’ve only got a couple of days left to use your paper £20 or £50 notes.

The Bank of England will be withdrawing legal tender status of paper £20 and £50 banknotes after 30 September 2022. After this date businesses will no longer be accepting these banknotes as payment.

The move comes after the bank introduced new polymer plastic £20 notes in February 2020 and polymer £50 notes in June 2021.

After 30 September 2022 you will not be able to use paper banknotes. However, if you have a UK bank account, you will normally still be able to deposit them at your bank, or into your account at a Post Office.

You can also exchange certain withdrawn paper banknotes for polymer notes at a limited number of Post Office branches, or you can exchange withdrawn banknotes with the Bank of England, including by post.

Although the majority of paper £20 and £50 banknotes in circulation have been replaced with new polymer versions, there are still over £5 billion worth of paper £20 featuring the economist Adam Smith, and nearly £6 billion worth of paper £50 banknotes featuring the engineers Boulton and Watt, in circulation.

That’s more than 250 million individual £20 banknotes, and more than 110 million paper £50 banknotes.

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New polymer notes have replaced the older paper style bank notes (Image: Bank of England)

The Bank of England have announced that they will reveal images of updated banknotes featuring a portrait of HM King Charles III by the end of this year. The notes are expected to enter circulation by mid-2024. 

His Majesty’s portrait will appear on existing designs of all four polymer banknotes (£5, £10, £20 and £50). This will be a continuation of the current polymer series and no additional changes to the banknote designs will be made. 

In line with guidance from the Royal Household to minimise the environmental and financial impact of the change of monarch, existing stocks of notes featuring HM Queen Elizabeth II will continue to be issued into circulation. New notes will only be printed to replace worn banknotes and to meet any overall increase in demand for banknotes. 

Current banknotes featuring the portrait of HM Queen Elizabeth II will continue to be legal tender and will only be removed from circulation once they become worn or damaged. They will co-circulate with those featuring HM King Charles III.  

(Lead image: Bank of England)

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