Can you still use old £20 notes – and when do they expire?

In recent years the Bank of England (BoE) has removed paper versions of £5 and £10 notes from circulation and are poised to extend this even further by the start of this Autumn. The new measures will affect which versions of the £20 note you’ll be able to use to buy items such as food and clothes. So, can you still use old £20 notes?

Can you still use old £20 notes?

Currently, you can still use the older paper version of the £20 note as legal tender throughout the UK.

However, that will all be changing from this September onwards when the BoE brings in its latest rule change.

Tuesday, September 30 is the final day Brits will be able to use paper versions of both the £20 and £50 note.

After this date if you wish to pay with either of these tenders you’ll have to use the new polymer varieties.

The polymer version of the £20 note went into circulation in February 2020 with the BoE later announcing a date at which the older version would expire at.

READ MORE: Warning issued to Britons who use cash in supermarkets

Thanks to their plastic material the notes have been hailed as “the most secure banknote yet” by the BoE.

In fact, according to the bank’s website, the material allows for “enhanced security features, such as the see-through windows and holograms”.

Once the expiry period has passed for paper £20 notes to be used residents can opt in for an exchange process whereby you will receive a new version of the tender.

One way this can be achieved is by sending them to the BoE via post, but the bank does warn that “banknotes are sent at your own risk”.

Alternatively, if you have a UK bank account, the simplest and quickest way to exchange your notes will normally be to deposit them with your bank.

The Post Office may also accept withdrawn notes as payment for goods and services, or as a deposit into any bank account you can access with them.

What’s new about the £20 note design?

Romantic painter JMW Turner,  born in 1775 to a barber and wig maker and is often dubbed one of the great masters of painting, was chosen as the recipient to be placed into the design of the new £20 polymer note.

The decision was made by Mark Carney, the former governor of the BoE, who said: “Turner is perhaps the single most influential British artist of all time. His work was transformative, bridging the classical and modern worlds. His influence spanned his lifetime and is still apparent today.”

An interesting quirk to the banknote also means that it can “come alive” with a new Snapchat feature.

By hovering your phone over the note or an image of the new £20 a “living artwork” will appear on your smartphone.

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