Banknotes: Deadline for using £20 and £50 note looms – What to do after September | Personal Finance | Finance

Retailers and services will stop accepting the old £20 and £50 paper notes after 30 September 2022. Britons have 161 days left to spend their old notes or they can exchange them at the Bank of England after the deadline.

The old paper £20 note represents economist Adam Smith, while the £50 note denotes business associates James Watt and Matthew Boulton.

Paper banknotes have been replaced by polymer banknotes, which were put into circulation in 2020.

The new £20 note features the painter JMW Turner and the £50 note features the mathematician Alan Turing.

Come October, Britons won’t be able to use the old notes and if they still want their money’s worth, they’ll have to exchange them.


People can usually deposit old notes into their UK bank account, which is “the easiest and fastest way” according to the Bank of England.

The post office can also accept old notes as payment or the British can use them to deposit notes into an account.

The Bank of England will always accept and exchange old banknotes, which the British can usually post to them.

However, they cautioned that people using this method should “take appropriate steps to insure against loss or theft.”


There are two key security features that can help confirm genuine banknotes: holographic makeover and see-through windows.

For example, the £20 note should have the hologram image that toggles between the words ‘Twenty’ and ‘Pounds’ when moved from side to side.

There is a metallic image above the main window of the note, whose foil on the front must be blue and gold and the back must be silver.

The Queen’s portrait can be seen in the transparent window with the words ‘£20 Bank of England’ printed around the edge.

There should also be a UV number only visible under good quality UV light, with the number 20 appearing in bright red and green on the front of the note.

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