close up of old £50 notes which expires soon

When do old £50 notes expire? It's the question most people with paper notes in their purses are wondering as the new polymer £50 has been in circulation for a while now. 

The new £50 note features British WW2 codebreaker and scientist Alan Turing as the iconic figurehead alongside the Queen. It was released earlier this year in June 2021, to commemorate the mathematician's would-be 109th birthday. The note is made of plastic, making it harder to rip and more durable for long-term use. Cutting-edge security features have also been added to prevent fraudulent use.

As many ask which notes are going out of circulation, it's out with the old and in with the new, because much like the paper £20 note expiry date, old £50 notes will soon be redundant. And there's more change in British currency to get your head round too, as the new design for the King Charles bank notes has been released too - as well as the new stamps, which has many asking when do stamps expire?

When do old £50 notes expire?

The Bank of England have confirmed that old £50 notes expired on Wednesday 30 September 2022.

This was the last day old £50 notes could be used in shops, pubs and restaurants.

This expiry date also applies to old £20 notes which were replaced with the new polymer note in 2020.

The Bank of England have to give at least six months notice of when a note will officially expire, to allow the public an adequate amount of time to spend their note before the cut-off date.

Can you still use paper £50 notes?

No, you can no longer use paper £50 notes. 

Now the expiry date has passed only the polymer £50 notes are considered legal tender at present. However, if you have any old £50 you can exchange these for the new notes at your bank branch, Post Office, or at the Bank of England in London.

The face of the new £50 note is scientist Alan Turing, and features a photo of him taken in 1951 by Elliott & Fry, alongside a table of a mathematical formula which is widely credited as being the foundation for computer science. Underneath Turing's picture he is quoted as saying: "This is only a foretaste of what is to come, and only the shadow of what is going to be."

close up of old £50 notes showing Matthew Boulton and James Watt

Credit: Getty

What’s different about the new polymer note?

The new £50 note is the latest British currency to be printed on polymer. The Bank of England have switched to this material as it "makes them harder to counterfeit than paper notes."

One new security feature of the polymer note includes a hologram image that changes between the words ‘Fifty’ and ‘Pounds’.

There’s also a small see-through window in the bottom corner of the note. Visible on both sides, the foil in this window should turn gold and green on the front and silver on the back.

Also printed on the window is a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II which should have ‘£50 Bank of England’ printed around the oval edge.

The polymer material also makes the note harder to rip and waterproof - stopping any print smudges or blurred lines that were common on old £50 paper ones.

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Emily Stedman
Features Editor

Emily Stedman is the former Features Editor for GoodTo covering all things TV, entertainment, royal, lifestyle, health and wellbeing. Boasting an encyclopaedic knowledge on all things TV, celebrity and royals, career highlights include working at HELLO! Magazine and as a royal researcher to Diana biographer Andrew Morton on his book Meghan: A Hollywood Princess. In her spare time, Emily can be found eating her way around London, swimming at her local Lido or curled up on the sofa binging the next best Netflix show.