Paper £20 and £50 notes to be withdrawn in six months

Paper money to be replaced with polymer notes by September 2022

Paper £20 and £50 notes will soon no longer be legal tender as the Bank of England plans to withdraw the notes in six months time - Credit: Bank of England

Paper money will soon be a thing of the past as the Bank of England has announced paper £20 and £50 notes will be withdrawn as legal tender in six months time.

People who have these notes are encouraged to spend them or deposit them at the Post Office before September 30, 2022, when the changes come into force.

There is approximately £7 billion of £20 notes and £10.5 billion of £50 notes still in circulation.

The polymer £50 note in production

The polymer £50 note in production - Credit: Bank of England

The paper money will be replaced with new £20 polymer notes featuring J.M.W. Turner, and polymer £50 notes featuring Alan Turing.

One the deadline has passed people will no longer be able to spend paper notes in shops or use them to pay businesses.

People with a UK bank account will still be able to deposit withdrawn notes into their account.

The Bank of England will continue to exchange all withdrawn notes.

Sarah John, chief cashier for the Bank of England

Sarah John, chief cashier for the Bank of England - Credit: Bank of England

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Bank of England’s chief cashier Sarah John said: “We want to remind the public that from today 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 new £50 note features  a portrait of mathematician and war hero Alan Turing on the back

The new £50 note features a portrait of mathematician and war hero Alan Turing on the back - Credit: Bank of England

The new polymer £20 notes were first issued on February 20, 2020, and the polymer £50 note on June 23, 2021.

This completed the move to polymer notes from paper cash which began with moving to polymer £5 notes in 2016.

According to the Bank of England, the new notes offer better security features which make them harder to counterfeit.

The notes are also resistant to dirt and moisture, giving them a longer lifetime.