Deadline for £20 and £50 notes looms: ‘Last day you can spend £20 and £50 paper notes’


Old £20 and £50 paper notes will stop being accepted by retailers and services after September 30, 2022. Britons have 161 days left to spend their old bank notes or they can exchange it at the Bank of England after the deadline. 

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

The paper notes have been replaced with polymer notes, which were released into circulation in 2020. 

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

Once October comes, Britons will not be able to use the old notes and if they still want their money’s worth, they will have to exchange them.


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

The Post Office may also accept old notes as payment or Britons can use them to deposit the notes in an account.

The Bank of England will always accept and exchange old bank notes, which Britons can usually send to them through the post. 

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


There are two key security features which can help confirm genuine notes: the holographic image change and see through windows. 

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

There is a metallic image over the main window on the note, of which the foil on the front should be blue and gold and the back should be silver. 

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

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


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