New plastic £50 note featuring Alan Turing revealed by Bank of England - but you can still use the paper version for now
A new plastic £50 note featuring the inventor and codebreaker Alan Turing has been revealed by the Bank of England today. It will launch into circulation from 23 June and will eventually replace the current paper design featuring entrepreneur Matthew Boulton and engineer James Watt.
The new note is the last of the paper notes to be switched to polymer plastic and joins the new £5, £10, and £20 notes. The Bank of England says the new material is more difficult to counterfeit.
A withdrawal date for the paper £50 note has yet to be confirmed but the Bank of England says it will give a minimum of six months' notice. This means if you've got a paper note it is currently still legal tender so you can continue to use it. The withdrawal of the paper version is also unlikely to happen any time soon given the paper £20 note is yet to be withdrawn despite the plastic version launching in February 2020.
The last note to be withdrawn was the paper £10 note. This ceased to be legal tender in March 2018 following the launch of the polymer version in August 2016.
You can switch paper £50 notes at your local bank branch
If you'd rather switch your paper £50 note to a polymer version, you can do this from 23 June at your local bank branch. Banks legally have to swap notes until they're taken out of circulation.
Once a note has been removed from circulation your bank is no longer legally obliged to swap it for you. However, some bank and Post Office branches may still do so and they may also continue to accept out of date currency provided you deposit it into your account.
If you can't deposit the cash into your bank account or you're refused permission to swap it then you'll have to swap it directly with the Bank of England. Under normal circumstances this can be done in person, however, due to the Covid-19 pandemic this isn’t currently an option and you will have to wait or do it by post - although weigh up the options carefully before sending cash in the post.
The Bank of England's swap service doesn’t just apply to £50 notes but to all paper notes. So if you have old £5 and £10 notes that are no longer in circulation, you can still exchange them via the Bank of England. You can find out more info on the Bank of England website.