Loading...

Are old £20 and £50 notes still legal tender? UK deadline to use an old paper note - can you still spend them

The old style £20 and £50 notes will be phased out in six months time

The Bank of England has issued a warning over paper banknotes which are currently still in circulation.

Over £19 billion worth of the notes are still used but in six months they will be not accepted as a form of payment.

Sign up to our Money Savers newsletter

The old style £20 and £50 notes will be redundant from 30 September in an attempt to tackle fake money.

How long will paper notes be accepted for? 

The Bank of England will continue to swap old notes for their face value, but people are being warned to use up the 775 million paper notes in six months time, before 30 September 2022.

Chief Cashier Sarah John said : “We want to remind the public that from today (28 April 2022) they only have six months left to spend or deposit their paper £20 and £50 notes.

“Over the past few years we have been changing our banknotes from paper to polymer, because these designs are more difficult to counterfeit, whilst also being more durable.

“A large number of these paper notes have now been returned to us, and replaced with the polymer £20 featuring the artist J.M.W. Turner, and the polymer £50 featuring the scientist Alan Turing. However if members of the public still have any of these paper notes in their possession, they should deposit or spend them whilst they can”.

The paper £20 remain legal tender until 30 September 2022.

How to exchange old bank notes?

If you miss this deadline, The Bank of England said that many banks will accept the “withdrawn notes as deposits from customers” and so will the Post Office.

You can also exchange the paper notes at face value for the new polymer ones directly at the Bank of England which is based in London.

Are any old coins still in circulation?

Also in circulation are £105million old one pound coins, five years since losing their tender status, according to the Royal Mint.

Details of the cash still in circulation or hiding in homes was revealed in a Freedom of Information request by BBC Wales.

The round £1 coin was demonetised at midnight on 15 October 2017 and replaced by a supposed counterfeit-proof five-sided version.

Of the 1.6 billion £1 coins returned to the Mint, about 1.45million were found to be counterfeited.

The old version of the £1 coin can also still be deposited at high street banks - but should not be spent in shops.

The Bank’s entire collection of currently-printed banknotes is made of plastic as the polymer £50 note, featuring the portrait of Alan Turing, entered circulation on 23 June 2021.

A spokeswoman explained that “all genuine Bank of England banknotes that have been withdrawn from circulation retain their face value for all time”.