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New £20 note unveiled ahead of February release

New £20 note unveiled ahead of February release

The design for the new polymer £20 note – set to be released in February next year – has been unveiled by the Bank of England.

The new note, which features the artist JMW Turner, will enter circulation on 20 February 2020. It will replace the current £20 note, which features Adam Smith, who was an economist, philosopher and writer.

The Bank of England says it's the most sophisticated of its banknote yet and incorporates two windows and a two-colour foil, making it very difficult to counterfeit.

The polymer £20 note will join the Winston Churchill £5 and the Jane Austen £10 – which are also both made of the plastic – while a new £50 note, featuring Alan Turing, will follow in 2021.

The Royal Bank of Scotland last year unveiled the design of its first £20 polymer note, featuring the image of Scottish entrepreneur Kate Cranston, but the JMW Turner £20 note will also be spendable in Scotland.

Still got old fivers and tenners? Here's how to make them spendable again.

Will I still be able to spend my paper £20 notes?

After the new note enters circulation, you will be able to spend paper £20 notes as usual and these will be gradually withdrawn as they are banked by retailers and members of the public.

Notice will be given six months ahead of the legal tender status of the paper £20 being withdrawn, but even after this date, you'll still be able to return the notes to the Bank of England to exchange at face value, in person or by post (at your own risk).

What's more, many banks and building societies continued to accept old fivers and tenners from their own customers after they were withdrawn – so it's possible something similar will happen with £20 notes.