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Monday 29th August 2016
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What does "I promise to pay the bearer" mean on money?


On the Bank of England notes, it says “I promise to pay the bearer of this note five pounds”. So is that not actually money? Could I get gold in return?
Geraldine, Harrow


** Definitive **
Name: Arnie, New Malden
Qualification: Used to study economics
Answer: It goes back to the days when most major currencies were tied to the gold standard and you used to be able to go to a bank and ask for gold in exchange of the notes. Nowadays, the currencies are no longer tied to it, so you couldn’t do it now.