When do old £20 notes expire?

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  • When do old £20 notes expire? It’s the question everyone is asking now the Bank of England have announced they are withdrawing the paper note. 

    The new plastic, polymer notes have been in circulation since last year. It features a new iconic image along with improved security features to prevent fraudulent activity. Already it’s been dubbed ‘the most secure banknote yet’ as its new safety elements include a hologram and transparent window – two features which are near impossible to copy accurately. It’s not the only bank note to undergo a transformation as the new £50 note is also in circulation with many of the same elements.

    It’s out with the old, in with the new and the Bank of England are withdrawing the paper notes from circulation. This means that you’ll have to spend them or exchange the notes before the end date, otherwise you won’t be able to use them as legal currency.

    When do old £20 notes expire?

    Old paper £20 notes will expire on 30 September 2022.

    After September 2022, cafes, bars, shops and restaurants will no longer accept the paper £20 note. This is the same day as the old £50 note expiry date.

    The Bank of England have to give up to six month’s notice to when an old bank will cease as tender. This enables an adequate amount of time for the public to spend their old note before it expires.

    Can you still use paper £20 notes?

    Yes, you can continue to use paper £20 notes to make purchases at the moment.

    The old £20 notes will stay valid until the September 2022 expiry date given by the Bank of England.

    However, if you are unable to meet this deadline there is still a way you can trade in your old paper £20.

    The Bank of England have said that many banks will still accept the “withdrawn notes as deposits from customers” and so will the Post Office. You can also exchange the paper notes for the new polymer ones directly at the Bank of England based in London.

    Woman opening purse to spend £20 note

    Old £20 notes will expire next year, Credit: Getty

    What’s different about the new polymer note?

    There are some key differences between the old paper note and the new polymer one. 

    New security features make it harder for the note to be copied and forgeries to be made. Among them is a new hologram image that changes between the words ‘Twenty’ and ‘Pounds’ and there’s a small see-through window in the bottom corner of the note. There is also a portrait of the Queen which is printed on the window with ‘£20 Bank of England’ printed around the edge. 

    The polymer material, along with making the note waterproof and much harder to rip, also ensures that the printed lines and colours on the note stay sharp and without smudges or blurred lines. 

    The economist Adam Smith appears on the original paper £20 note, while the new polymer note features the artist JMW Turner. The self-portrait of the Romantic-era artist was painted in 1799 and is on display at Tate Britain in London. 

    The other image that appears on the note is a painting of Turner’s called The Fighting Temeraire. It’s a tribute to the ship HMS Temeraire which was involved in Admiral Nelson’s victory at the Battle of Trafalgar in the early 19th century.

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