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Paper £20 and £50 Notes

I noticed that the Bank of England has announced that the paper notes can be used until 30 September 2022. If you keep a stash of banknotes for future trips you may want to cull out and keep the polymer notes. After that date you will need to go to the Bank of England in London to exchange paper notes for the polymer version.

https://www.bankofengland.co.uk/banknotes/polymer-20-pound-note

On a side note I have noticed that in London you can get by with very little cash. I plan to reduce my holdings the next time I am there.

Posted by
630 posts

Thank you for the reminder about the paper notes, Rocket! The Bank of England website currently mentions that “many banks will accept withdrawn notes as deposits from customers.”

On past visits, my hotel accepted withdrawn notes as payment (or partial payment), as a convenience for their guests. The hotel explained that it was no problem for them to deposit the notes in their bank account. And it saved me a trip to the Bank of England. Worth checking out with your lodging.

Posted by
107 posts

Hmm I'm guessing my ancient GBP10 note is a souvenir then?

Posted by
9775 posts

I had to go down to the Bank of England to exchange some old notes a few years ago. It was easy. You tell the guard at the door why you are there, he points you to the lobby tellers--actually just off the lobby--and you exchange your notes. In and out in a few minutes.

I believe there is no cut off for old notes to exchange at the Bank of England. Perhaps one of our British contributors can confirm or correct that.

Posted by
3203 posts

Llssie- As Frank II said, all old notes still retain their value, you just need to take them to the Bank Of England (Bank tube stop) to exchange them for new ones, so don’t throw them out. After the £5 and £10s were changed to the polymer some tourists were leaving the old ones laying around at tourist attractions thinking they were no good. I picked one up I saw laying around and exchanged it with all of mine.

Hope to get over there to avoid another trip to the BoE. I have 3 £20 notes left from my 2019 trip and thought the transition had already passed. Glad it was extended.

Posted by
3385 posts

I went to the Bank of England to trade in old notes on my last trip and it was actually a little interesting and quite easy to do so. If you are going to be in London, it shouldn't be too hard to do this.

Posted by
1848 posts

Notes and coins are so 2019

Since 2020, the move to contactless cards has been overwhelming.

Posted by
4527 posts

All Bank of England notes ever issued from its foundation in 1694 are exchangeable at the face value for new ones at the Bank. Although if you have one from the 17th century this would not be a good idea financially.

The Bank's museum is worth a visit even for just seeing inside some of the historic parts of the building.

Pretty much all high street banks allow notes to be paid into accounts with them after the deadline although they won't generally just exchange them.

Posted by
107 posts

Ah interesting - when/if I ever get back to London I'll go to BOE and exchange any I find in the bottom of the foreign cash wallet.

Very, very happy to hear that UK is finally go cashless. I rarely have any cash in my wallet anymore in NZ - I toured the whole of the south island last year with the same $20.

Its going to be weird if we get to the US next year because I guess will need cash for tipping

Posted by
3465 posts

Credit cards work for tipping in the US. Most charge receipts include a line for the tip amount to be manually added after the transaction is completed.

With the tipping culture so deeply ingrained into our culture, you think it wouldn't be allowed for in some way? :-)

Posted by
7919 posts

Lissie, I haven’t used cash here for a over 5 yrs. Not needed.

Posted by
4362 posts

Very, very happy to hear that UK is finally go cashless.

It's not going cashless, it's simply changing the material used for banknotes from paper to polymer.

Posted by
25723 posts

Maybe not cashless, but I still have the same notes in my wallet that I got in February 2020. I had to spend cash two days ago because we were at a garden which had an unattended coin collector like charities use attached to the box with garden guides in it. The price was 50p. I haven't carried coins for years (I use use plastic lookalikes from LIDL to extract a shopping trolly) but my wife had a pound at the bottom of her purse (a new one, whew!). Popped that in and let them keep the extra 50p. First time I've used cash in absolutely ages.

Normally my Apple Pay works everywhere, very occasionally such as at Costco fuel pumps I have to insert the card and put in my PIN.

Posted by
97 posts

Just a thought the United Kingdom (England Wales Scotland and Northern Ireland)
have had a new £1 coin since2017 it is 12 sided and the old gold £1 coin

Posted by
25723 posts

to finish jameswoodsni thought, the old "round pound" is no longer accepted in business.

Posted by
1396 posts

I haven't been to the UK since 2018, and have a huge amount of UK coins left over from that year.
I'm presuming I would still be able to use them there in the next couple of years if I'm able to get back for a visit?

I also found in my stash French Francs and about $4 in American coins.
Those are of no use to me at all ,as we as Canadians are still discouraged from crossing the Border for leisure reasons!
Back in the cupboard for now....

Posted by
25723 posts

French Francs won't do you much good

Posted by
3203 posts

The francs can get thrown out since it hasn’t been France’s currency since 2002. I believe the England coins are still good to use with the exception of any round £1 coins. Those were replaced between 2018 and 2019 with 12-sided coins and the old ones are no longer legal currency. Those can get tossed. When you can finally cross the border, the U.S. coins and currency will still be good.

Posted by
623 posts

I haven't been to the UK since 2018, and have a huge amount of UK
coins left over from that year. I'm presuming I would still be able to
use them there in the next couple of years if I'm able to get back for
a visit?

I'm not sure about the other coins, but look at the £1 coins at the edge. If the coin is completely round, it's an oldie. The current version was in circulation in the UK in 2018, so you might have some. I brought home a few of the new £1 coins in late 2018. Looking at them head-on, they generally appear more round than 12-sided - but a quick look at the edge shows there are 12 "sides" on the edge. The "sides" or "panels" alternate between a smooth and a grooved finish. Here are a couple of articles about the £1 coin: https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-38480180 and https://www.wired.co.uk/article/new-one-pound-coin-uk-release-details-security

I don't know if the pandemic has stopped them, but BA flight attendants used to collect coins and notes for charity. I think there were envelopes you put the money in and handed to the attendant. A question for anyone who knows. If you give your old coins to someone - or an organization - with a UK bank account, can the recipient deposit the money into their account? If that's true, and I had some "old" UK money, I'd hand it over as a donation to a UK charity of my choice.

On my last trip to the UK in November 2018 (the Centenary of course for this history nerd), I got thoroughly spoiled by tapping my phone to pay for almost everything. I can't remember where and how often I encountered toilets requiring a 20p coin to use. Have toilets gone cashless? Asking for a friend.

Posted by
4362 posts

I can't remember where and how often I encountered toilets requiring a 20p coin to use. Have toilets gone cashless? Asking for a friend.

Generally, in the UK, you don't need to pay to use public toilets although there are exceptions. London Waterloo used to charge however the last couple of times I've been there the turnstiles were open and there was no requirement to pay. One of the Cotswolds villages I once stopped in had pay toilets although I don't recall which one however it was one of the few occasions that I can count on one hand where I've ever had to pay to use the toilet in the UK.

Posted by
25723 posts

Witney's toilets take 20p (Cotswolds)

Broadway's large variety of toilets are free

Posted by
1780 posts

always have a little something in the bottom of your pocket, or you will most definitely need it. interesting how different European countries have either abandoned or insist on currency. apparently this is a big problem for tourists to China as well, since all payments there are app based and you have to give someone with the app your money so they can pay for you.

Posted by
11262 posts

I was in the UK in September 2016 and April 2018. In that time, my old £5 notes, £10 notes, and £1 coins had all been replaced!

As stated above, I was able to change my paper notes for polymer ones at the Bank of England (luckily, London was on this 2018 trip; my 2016 trip was to Glasgow, Manchester, and Liverpool). The round pound coins were not changeable. But I read that those with a UK bank account were able to deposit these coins into the account. So, I used it as a donation at museums.

So, unless this has changed, don't throw out either your paper notes or your old pound coins; you can exchange the notes and donate the coins.

I also agree that while I used a lot of cash with no difficulty, almost all the locals were using contactless cards for everything they could. Now that I have contactless on my main credit card, I see why - it's so much faster and easier than other payment methods.

Posted by
1780 posts

"thanks" to the pandemic, I've had currency in my pocket for 18 months now! It's just so much easier, faster and safer to charge everything. It ends up costing the same. However ... I purposely hit up a bank every few weeks for $5 and $10 bills since my ATM will only discharge $20s, and I still need to tip people every so often. Just did it with the electricians today.