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Old paper £20 and £50 notes will expire on 30 September

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The Bank of England will be withdrawing legal tender status of paper £20 and £50 banknotes after 30 September 2022.

After this date, paper £20 and £50 banknotes will no longer be legal tender. The Bank encouraging anyone who still has these to use them or deposit them at their bank or a Post Office during these last months.

Paper £20 notes started to be withdrawn from circulation on 20 February 2020, when the polymer £20 entered circulation. Paper £50 notes started to be withdrawn on 23 June 2021, when the polymer £50 note entered circulation. Therefore, there has been less time to withdraw these paper £50 notes, and more remain in circulation relative to the paper £20 notes

While the majority of paper £20 and £50 banknotes in circulation have been replaced with new polymer versions, there are still over £6 billion worth of paper £20 featuring the economist Adam Smith, and over £8 billion worth of paper £50 banknotes featuring the engineers Boulton and Watt, in circulation. That’s more than 300 million individual £20 banknotes, and 160 million paper £50 banknotes.

Speaking ahead of the date, the Bank of England’s Chief Cashier Sarah John said “Changing our banknotes from paper to polymer over recent years has been an important development, because it makes them more difficult to counterfeit, and means they are more durable. The majority of paper banknotes have now been taken out of circulation, but a significant number remain in the economy, so we’re asking you to check if you have any at home.”

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