When do old £50 notes expire?

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 (opens in new tab) 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.

It's out with the old and in with the new as much like the paper £20 note expiry date (opens in new tab), old £50 notes will soon be out of circulation.

When do old £50 notes expire?

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

This will officially be the last day you can use your old £50 notes in shops, pubs and restaurants.

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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?

Yes you can still currently use paper £50 notes. 

The paper and polymer £50 notes are both in circulation and are considered legal tender at present. But you have to make sure you spend your paper £50 note now before the expiry date.

The old paper £50 note features English manufacturer Matthew Boulton and Scottish engineer James Watt. The two men joined forces to produce steam engines and first appeared on the note on 2 November 2011.

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

Credit: Getty

Where can I change old £50 notes?

Though the old £50 notes officially expire at the end of September, you can exchange your paper one for a new polymer one after this date.

Cashiers at the Bank of England's central branch on Threadneedle Street in London will be happy to replace old £50 notes.

Just be sure to bring along two forms of ID with you (photo ID and proof of address) - which is mandatory when exchanging notes of over £700. You will then be offered a new note or the option to have the amount deposited into your bank account.

Those that are unable to visit the bank in person can also do this exchange by post. Though the Bank of England website states (opens in new tab) that individuals who do mail their withdrawn note do so at their own risk.

You can also use the £50 paper note at your local Post Office branch (opens in new tab) after the expiry date.

"The Post Office may also accept withdrawn notes as payment for goods and services, or as a deposit into any bank account you can access with them," states the Bank of England.

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 (opens in new tab) 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.

Emily Stedman
Emily Stedman

Emily Stedman is the News Features Editor for GoodTo covering all things royal, entertainment, lifestyle, health and wellbeing. Boasting an encyclopaedic knowledge on all things celebrity and royal, 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.