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New plastic £50 note featuring Alan Turing goes into circulation - but you can still use paper versions until September 2022

A new plastic £50 note featuring the inventor and codebreaker Alan Turing has entered circulation today (23 June). It will replace the current paper design featuring entrepreneur Matthew Boulton and engineer James Watt, which you'll no longer be able to use from 30 September 2022.

The new note is the last of the paper notes to be switched to polymer plastic, which the Bank of England says is more difficult to counterfeit. We now have polymer versions of the following notes: 

  • Polymer £5 note featuring former UK Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill. This entered circulation on 13 September 2016. The paper version was withdrawn from circulation on 5 May 2017.  

  • Polymer £10 note featuring author Jane Austen. This entered circulation on 17 September 2017. The paper version was withdrawn from circulation on 1 March 2018.

  • Polymer £20 note featuring painter JMW Turner. This entered circulation on 20 February 2020. Like the paper £50 note, the paper £20 note - which features economist Adam Smith - will also be withdrawn from circulation on 30 September 2022.  

If you want to make your money go further, check out our Top Savings Accounts guide. 

Paper notes will cease to be legal tender once withdrawn - but you can exchange them at your local bank branch

The withdrawal date for both the paper £20 and £50 note is 30 September 2022, meaning this will be the last day you can use either note to pay for goods. After this date, these paper notes will no longer be legal tender. But you do have options to avoid losing their worth: 

  • Switch paper notes for polymer versions at your bank until 30 September 2022. Banks legally have to swap notes until they're taken out of circulation. 

  • After 30 September 2022, ask your bank or Post Office to swap paper notes for polymer versions or see if they'll allow you to deposit it into accounts. Once a note has been removed from circulation your bank or Post Office 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 However, some bank and Post Office branches may still do so and they may also continue to accept out of date currency provided you deposit it into your account.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 your bank or Post Office can't help, you can swap paper notes for polymer versions at the Bank of England. If you can't deposit the cash into your bank account or you're refused permission to swap it then you'll have to change it directly with the Bank of England. You can do this in person at the Bank of England counter at Threadneedle Street, London.

    You may need to provide two original identity (ID) documents (one photo ID and one proof of address) for any exchange - this is also mandatory for any exchange of £700 or more. To check what the Bank of England does accept, see the ‘Identification we accept’ page on its website.

    You can also 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 £20 and £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

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