When is the last day to use the old £20 and £50 notes - and how do I exchange them?

Check your pockets, wallets, and the back of your sofa for your old £20 notes.

The old paper £20 and £50 notes won’t be legal tender for much longer. But in March, the Bank of England said there was still £7 billion worth of £20 notes and £10.5 billion worth of £50 notes in circulation.

So when is the last day to spend your money, and what happens if you find one after the deadline?

When is the last day to use the old £20 and £50 notes?

Today (Friday, September 30, 2022) is the last day to use the old paper £20 and £50 notes.

Tomorrow, these paper notes will no longer be legal tender, and they won’t be accepted in shops.

What happens if you still have old £20 notes after the deadline?

Many banks and some post offices will accept the old £20 notes as a deposit into a bank account.

The Bank of England will always exchange the old paper notes, so people who missed the deadline won’t be left out of pocket.

How can you exchange old bank notes?

To exchange old bank notes after the deadline, you can send them to the Bank of England by post.

However, the Bank of England warns that people should “be aware the banknotes are sent at your own risk”, and encourages people to “take appropriate measures to insure against loss or theft”.

To send them by post, complete a postal exchange form and send it with the banknotes and photocopies of your ID and proof of address.

Send this to Department NEX, Bank of England, Threadneedle Street, London EC2R 8AH.

The Bank of England can pay the money into a bank account, by cheque, or (if you live in the UK and the amount is worth less than £50), in new banknotes.

What are the new £20 and £50 notes?

The paper notes were replaced with new polymer notes: the £20 note features JMW Turner, and the £50 features Alan Turing.

The polymer £20 note came into circulation on February 20, 2020.

In March, the Bank of England’s chief cashier Sarah John explained: “Over the past few years, we have been changing our banknotes from paper to polymer, because these designs are more difficult to counterfeit, whilst also being more durable.”

The Bank of England said: “The notes are resistant to dirt and moisture and so remain in better condition for longer. These notes also have tactile features that allow the blind and partially sighted to use them.”

From today, only these polymer notes will be legal tender.