Is my old paper £50 bank note still valid and can I exchange it?

23 June 2021, 10:49

Is my old paper £50 bank note still valid and can I exchange it?
Is my old paper £50 bank note still valid and can I exchange it? Picture: PA

By Emma Clarke

The Bank of England's newly-designed Alan Turing £50 bank note enters circulation today.

Coinciding with what would have been his birthday, the Bank of England today has released its newly-designed £50 bank note, featuring mathematician and computer scientist, Alan Turing.

Not only was Turing a computer pioneer, he broke the Enigma code during World War II, aiding British and Allied forces in claiming victory.

The new plastic version of the £50 bank note is part of the Bank of England's process to replace all paper notes.

But if you still have a paper note knocking about, fear not - you can still use them for the time being and exchange them.

Here's everything you need to know...

Can I still use my old paper £50 notes?

Yes, you can. But as of October 2022, shops will no longer accept paper notes.

The final date you can use paper £50 notes is September 30 next year - the same goes for paper £20 notes.

Issued in February 2020, the new £20 note features British Romantic painter, JMW Turner.

The polymer £5 note, meanwhile, was issued in September 2016 and features Sir Winston Churchill.

Finally, the new £10 note which was issued in September 2017 now has Jane Austen on it.

Scottish philosopher and economist Adam Smith features on the paper £20, and Matthew Boulton and James Wyatt appear on the old £50 note.

Can I exchange them for the new plastic version?

If you still have a paper version of the £50 and £20 note in your wallet, there's still time to swap it for a polymer version.

You can exchange them at your local Post Office, bank, or with the Bank of England itself for face value.

If you are an individual, you can exchange your banknotes with the Bank of England over the counter or by post, but you must fill out an application form and take into consideration safety measures against loss or theft. The transfer of funds can take up to 10 working days.

Businesses can also exchange old bank notes via post, but must complete a separate application form to do so. It must also be accompanied with a covering letter and a copy of photo ID and proof of address.

You can find full details on the Bank of England website here.

Why are bank notes being redesigned?

The transition from paper notes to polymer notes is part of increased security measures.

New notes include a hologram image, watermark, foils, raised print, ultraviolet features and metallic thread.

Are all bank notes now made of plastic?

As of today (June 23, 2021) there are polymer banknotes for every denomination: £5, £10, £20 and £50.