The Bank of England has announced the deadline for old £20 and £50 notes to lose their legal tender status. So, when do you need to exchange your old notes? And how do you exchange old banknotes?
Here’s a date for your diary: after September 30, 2022, you will no longer be able to use the old £20 and £50 notes.
After this date, the notes will not be legal tender, meaning you can’t use them in shops.
You will still be able to exchange them after the deadline in two years time.
Why do they change the bank notes?
The Bank of England has updated the banknotes to the plastic polymer ones because, amongst other things, they have more sophisticated security features.
They also last longer – they’ll survive a spin around the washing machine (though we don’t recommend trying this if you can avoid it) – and are more environmentally friendly.
The Bank of England’s Chief Cashier Sarah John said: “The polymer £50 note is the most secure Bank of England banknote yet, and the features of the note make it very difficult to counterfeit.
“All of our polymer banknotes can be checked by looking for two key security features: a hologram which changes image; and see-through windows.
“The new £50 notes, like the polymer £10 and £20 notes, contain a tactile feature to help vision impaired people identify the denomination.”
Who is on the new £20 and £50 notes?
The new polymer £50 note features the mathematician Alan Turing, who broke the Enigma code at Bletchley Park during World War Two.
Turing was later chemically castrated for being gay, which the Queen gave him a posthumous royal pardon for in 2013. In 2009 Gordon Brown also apologised on behalf of the Government for the appalling treatment of Turing.
Governor of the Bank of England, Andrew Bailey said: “Our banknotes celebrate some of our country’s most important historical figures. That’s why I am delighted that Alan Turing features on the new polymer £50 note.
“Placing him on this new banknote is a recognition of his contributions to our society, and a celebration of his remarkable life.”
Painter JMW Turner is the famous face on the 20 pound note. Famous for his landscape paintings, Turner is one of Britain’s finest painters.
Winston Churchill sits proudly on the £5 note, while author Jane Austen became the face of the tenner in 2017.