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British Pound vs Scotish Pound

Is there a difference between currencies?

Posted by
2353 posts

The currency in Scotland is not different from the rest of the United Kingdom in that it is also consists of British Pounds (£), although Scottish banks print their own versions. The have the save exchange value and can be used interchangeably.

I have heard but can not confirm that some businesses in England have refused Scottish notes - perhaps some of our UK folks can weigh in on that.

Posted by
21327 posts

They look a little different, different pictures, but are the same. I have heard the same thing but encountered no resistance to the money when we used both interchangeably last year in Scotland and England.

Posted by
5574 posts

Supposedly, small business in the south look askance at it. But it's legal. I've never let it worry me and spent some of it Cambridge last winter.

Pam

Posted by
12544 posts

The supermarket in a small town in Shropshire would not take our Scottish banknotes, so we had to take them to the local bank and exchange them.

On the other hand, we had no trouble paying for a restaurant dinner in London with our Bank of Clydesdale notes.

Posted by
3476 posts

A Pound is a Pound the world 'round. :-)

The Scottish and Northern Ireland Pounds (and technically Gibraltar for that matter) are perfectly good money and have exactly the same value as the British Pounds issued by the Bank of England. You should have no issues spending them anywhere in the UK, although some smaller shops look strangely at them. Those areas are allowed by agreement with the Bank of England to print up to a certain amount of their own Pound notes going back to when they were made part of the UK.

However, if you bring them to the US and want to cash them in for US$, you will have difficulty. The exchange booths at the airports won't touch them. Most large banks (Chase, Wells, Bank of America from my experience) do not see them as valid currency. Only English Pounds are exchangeable here. So spend them before you leave the UK or keep them for your next trip.

Posted by
3581 posts

The Scots took my English pounds, the English took my Scottish pounds. No problems in May-June.

That may change in the future. Then the Scots may want Euros along with the folks in Northern Ireland. Time and politics will tell.

Posted by
2520 posts

there are a few unenlightened folk in England that won't take Scottish notes but most will.My nephew was in a large supermarket near London recently, they refused his £20 scottish note, he walked away to the automated checkouts and the machine there was very happy to accept it.

Posted by
4538 posts

Scottish bank notes are not legal tender anywhere including Scotland by the narrow definition of the term. They are though customary tender.

Posted by
3476 posts

And if you want to get technical, Bank of England Pound notes are legal tender only in England and Wales. Scottish and Northern Ireland Pound notes are not legal tender even in their respective countries - they are promisary notes similar to a check.

But who wants to get technical. :-)

Posted by
4538 posts

And Bank of England £1 and 10/- notes used to be legal tender throughout the UK as they were the successor to Treasury Notes issued by the government. A historical point for the notaphilist only.

Not much problem with Scottish bank notes these days. Northern Ireland ones on the other hand ...

Posted by
524 posts

We had quite a bit of difficulty using our Scottish pounds in England (Salisbury area). Most people wouldn't take them, and it was the Sunday of a bank holiday weekend, so we couldn't take them to the bank.

Posted by
2520 posts

Bank of England is actually a misnomer, as the bank of England is actually the UK bank and issues notes that are legal in all areas of the UK.

Posted by
238 posts

I have a question...there are a lot of places I am going in Scotland that will take "cash only." Will they take British pounds? or does this mean I have to go to the ATM, withdraw Scottish pounds just to pay for those things in Scotland?

I also use a AAA travel card for a lot of my ATM withdrawls and purchases at places that will take it (some small places will not). It is a Visa card that is pre-paid. I like it because if it gets stolen, I can invalidate it immediately and use my back up.

Posted by
4538 posts

There won't be any problem with Bank of England notes in Scotland. Many ATMs will dispense them locally anyway.

Posted by
238 posts

So Marco...that means if I use an ATM in Scotland, I will get British pounds. However, if I use those pounds in a shop, I might get Scottish pounds back? And if I do, should I spend those rather than try and exchange them for British pounds at an airport?

Posted by
495 posts

All the money is British Pounds.

Some ATMs will give notes printed by the Bank of England (I think these are what you are calling British Pounds.)

Some ATMs will give notes printed by one of the Scottish banks. These are the ones you may (or may not) have trouble using outside Scotland.

You can pretty much always use Scottish notes in England but occasionally they will be refused (and shops are perfectly entitled to do so.) To be honest, like a lot of "Europe" travel issues on the internet (dress codes, pick-pockets, etc...) it's blown out of all proportion.

So, don't worry. If you can spend, the Scottish notes in Scotland. If not take them to England. If a shop refuses them, use them in the next place.

Posted by
238 posts

Thank you! As always, these forums have information that has saved me some major stress on my trips. I remember getting ready to go to Italy and learned about in pin chip on these forums. None of my credit cards had pin chips but when I called a few of them, they re-issued pin chip cards just in time for my trip.

I am leaving from Scotland to come back to the USA, so, knowing that I need to use the Scottish pounds up before I leave has helped. What if I got to the airport in the USA, tried to cash them in, and they were not accepted? So...thank goodness this advice was posted here.

Posted by
18 posts

I had a convenience store in the airport at Heathrow refuse my 20 pound note from Northern Ireland. I'm taking it to Scotland with me in September to see if I can use it then.

Posted by
2520 posts

should not be a problem, I get irish notes every now and then and never had a problem using them in Edinburgh.If you do have a problem just take it into a bank and they should change it for you.

Posted by
4538 posts

Don't expect Northern Ireland notes to be that much more acceptable in Scotland than England. My friend in Coleraine makes a point if that occurs to him of then refusing Scottish banknotes in Scotland in change, on the grounds that if you won't take any of mine, I won't take any of yours.