Bank of England warns of looming deadline to exchange old banknotes

People have until 30 September to change in paper £20 and £50 notes

Maryam Zakir-Hussain
Friday 16 September 2022 10:11 BST
<p>Sarah John, chief cashier of the Bank of England, with a new £50 banknote </p>

Sarah John, chief cashier of the Bank of England, with a new £50 banknote

The Bank of England has warned the deadline to exchange old £20 and £50 notes is fast approaching.

People have until the end of the month, 30 September, to use the paper Bank of England (BoE) £20 and £50 notes before they no have legal tender status.

The BoE warned that people will face long queues to exchange the notes, which will then go out of circulation.

Most of the £20 and £50 notes have already been replaced with polymer versions, said to be less vulnerable to fraud.

The new £50 note was unveiled by BoE governor Andrew Bailey in March 2021 and features the renowned scientist, Alan Turing. The note entered circulation on the scientist’s birthday on 23 June 2021.

People have been advised to deposit their old notes at banks or at a Post Office ahead of the 30 September deadline.

The Bank of England has warned the deadline to exchange old notes is fast approaching

As of15 September, you can also exchange the:

  • Elizabeth Fry paper £5 note
  • Charles Darwin paper £10 note
  • Adam Smith paper £20 note
  • Boulton and Watt paper £50 note

The BoE said: “The Bank of England Counter is currently open from 9.30am to 3pm Monday to Friday and is experiencing very high demand. There will be long queues and you may encounter waiting times in excess of an hour.

“We would ask that you kindly consider the long wait times when travelling to the Bank to undertake an in-person exchange - if you arrive after 2pm it is possible you may not get served before we close. Unless you require your banknotes immediately, we would suggest sending your banknotes via the post.”

The BoE advised that some post offices may be able to accept withdrawn notes as a deposit into any bank account you can access with them.

Another option to avoid queues is to send your notes via post. However, the BoE warned to be cautious with this method, saying: “Be aware the banknotes are sent at your own risk. So please take appropriate measures to insure against loss or theft.”

Find more information on how to exchange your old notes here.

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