Do you have any old £20 and £50 notes?

Do you have any old £20 and £50 notes? Next time there’s nothing on TV, have a whizz round the house to see if you can find any. Don’t leave it till the last minute, as they are soon-to-be-discontinued.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio

You need to bank, swap or spend them while you can still do so.

New figures from the Bank of England show there are 360 million paper £20 notes and 209 million paper £50 notes still in circulation. They are worth £7.19 billion and £10.46 billion respectively.

These notes will no longer be useable from September 30th 2022 following the release of new polymer versions in 2020. Interesting, these were created to combat counterfeiting.

To avoid your notes becoming unusable, you have three options. This is regardless of where the notes have been issued in the UK, before the above date:

  • Spend them
  • Swap them for polymer notes at your bank
  • Deposit them into your bank account at your local post office or bank branch

Should you be unsure what you’re looking for, check out pictures of the soon-to-be-withdrawn Bank of England paper £20 and £50 notes on its website.

There are also 113 million Bank of England-issued £5 notes (worth £566 million) and 73 million paper £10 notes (worth £726 million) still in circulation, despite these being withdrawn in 2017 and 2018 respectively.

According to new figures from the Royal Mint, £105 million old round £1 coins are still in circulation. These lost their legal tender status in October 2017.

Again, you can check out pictures of the old ‘round pound’ on the Royal Mint website and see images of the old paper £5 and £10 notes on the Bank of England website.

Here’s what to do, if you find any.

At the bank

Your bank may swap or deposit old paper notes and coins. Banks don’t legally have to accept old paper notes and coins once they’ve been withdrawn from circulation. However, some may continue to allow you to swap them. Others may let you deposit old notes and coins into your account. T

At the Post Office

The Post Office will deposit old paper notes and coins into your bank account, which you can then withdraw. To do this, your bank will need to be signed up to receive cash deposits via the Post Office. You can check this on the Post Office website, although many major providers are signed up. You can’t do a direct cash swap at a post office.

If your bank or post office can’t help, you can swap paper notes for polymer versions at the Bank of England. You can do this in person at the Bank of England counter at Threadneedle Street, London. You may need to provide two original identity (ID) documents (one photo ID and one proof of address) for any exchange – this is also mandatory for any exchange of £700 or more. You can also do this by post, which may be the only option if you don’t live or work in London – though if you do this, consider paying extra for a delivery service that provides compensation if your post goes missing.

Phone a friend

Alternatively, ask a friend or relative to help. First, ask your bank or post office. Then try, the Bank of England. Lastly, if you’re worried about sending cash in the post, see if a family member or trusted friend can ask their bank or post office instead and see if they can transfer or hand over the money to you.

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