Check your pockets: You need to spend all paper £5 notes today

 
Caitlin Morrison
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The new fiver features Winston Churchill (Source: Getty)

Hey, not-so-big spenders: It's time to delve into your old coat pockets, check no-longer-used purses and handbags, or maybe even a piggy bank if you still have one - those paper £5 notes have got to go.

You have just hours left to spend any old fivers in your possession, because come 5 May - that's tomorrow - the Bank of England will withdraw the note's legal tender status.

After this weekend, retailers and consumers will no longer have to accept the older notes as payment or in change. Instead, everyone will be expected to use the new, polymer fiver.

And it's not like you haven't had plenty of notice about this change - the new note has hit headlines several times, not least due to controversy surrounding the fact that it's not vegan-friendly.

Read more: City A.M.'s verdict on the new plastic fiver

The Bank of England was branded a "disgrace" after it admitted the polymer the new notes are made of contained traces of animal fat, in the form of tallow.

The uproar caused by the fatty fiver fiasco led the Bank to make some chances to the polymer recipe, and it said in March that its new £20 notes would be made using palm oil instead of tallow, if the public agrees to it.

As palm oil is one of the world's most controversial substances, the Bank can only be thankful the make-up of polymers isn't an issue when it comes to the new £1 coin.

There's one good reason to welcome the new £5 note - there's still one note engraved with a tiny portrait of Jane Austen in circulation, and it's worth up to £50,000.

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