The Bank of England has warned people there are just 100 days to use or return £14.5bn-worth of paper bank notes before they’re removed as legal tender.
On 30 September, £20 and £50 notes made from paper will be withdrawn from circulation completely, and replaced with new polymer versions.
The warning was given because a “significant number” of soon-to-be defunct notes are still being used, with 314m paper £20 notes, totalling £6.3bn and 163m £50 notes, adding up to £8.2bn. This totals £14.5bn.
“Changing our banknotes from paper to polymer over recent years has been an important development, because it makes them more difficult to counterfeit, and means they are more durable”, said the Bank of England’s Chief Cashier Sarah John.
“The majority of paper banknotes have now been taken out of circulation, but a significant number remain in the economy, so we’re asking you to check if you have any at home. For the next 100 days, these can still be used or deposited at your bank in the normal way.”
This comes the Bank of England issued a new £50 polymer banknote featuring scientist and codebreaker Alan Turing, on what would have been his 109th birthday. Old paper £20 notes featuring economist Adam Smith will be replaced by notes showing the work and portrait of artist JMW Turner.