Old £5 notes goes out of circulation: Where can you exchange it? How to ensure your old fivers don’t lose their value

Shoppers are being warned that after Friday 5 May the old paper note featuring prison reformer and philanthropist Elizabeth Fry will cease to be legal tender

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The Independent Online

Time is running out to spend your old fivers.

Shoppers are being warned that after Friday 5 May the old paper note featuring prison reformer and philanthropist Elizabeth Fry will cease to be legal tender, which means anyone who finds one in an old pair of jeans needs to take it to the bank or the Post Office to be exchanged.

According to the Bank of England's latest estimates, more than 50 per cent of the old notes have already been returned to be destroyed, meaning around 150 million were still in circulation. 

Here's what you need to know: 

What happens if I haven't spent my old £5 note in time for the deadline?

Shops will no longer have to accept the old fivers from Saturday.

High street banks can also refuse to exchange notes after the cut-off date, however many said they will replace the notes brought into a branch providing that you’re a customer of that bank.

A spokesperson for Barclays said: “Following withdrawal of legal tender status, Barclays customers can continue to deposit the paper £5 note and old £1 coin into their account. We would recommend that customers allow sufficient time to return old notes rather than leave it until legal tender status is withdrawn.”

A spokesperson for RBS said: "After the note goes out of circulation, customers will still be able to bring in their old £5 notes for exchange at one of our branches. Non-customers will be directed to their own bank."

Will there come a point when I can't exchange the old fivers for the new polymer ones?

High street banks may stop exchanging them soon after the deadline, however the Bank of England is legally obliged to do so.

The Bank will continue to exchange the old £5 notes indefinitely, as it would for any other bank note which no longer has legal tender status.

“All Bank of England notes retain their face value for all time.  If your bank, building society or Post Office is not willing to accept these notes they can be exchanged with the Bank of England in London by post or in person,” the Bank said.

You may be asked to provide a proof of identification when exchanging large amounts of money.

Five things to know about the new £5 banknote

Is the Bank of England going to introduce any other new notes?

In September this year, the Bank will issue a new £10 polymer note featuring Jane Austen.

It will be followed by a new £20 which will feature the British Painter JMW Turner, which will be issued by 2020.

What will happen to the old fivers?

The paper notes that are returned to the Bank of England will be recycled. This is done using a composting treatment and the end product is used as a soil improver for agriculture.

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