The Bank of England estimates that there are 165 million old-style £5 notes in circulation – that’s nearly three for every person in the UK. However the outdated notes will cease to be legal tender from the 5thMay 2017 – causing headaches for consumers and cash-handling businesses alike.
Introduced last year, the new fiver is made of polymer and designed to be more durable than the old version. But the amount of old five pound notes still in use throughout the UK is causing confusion – here’s all you need to know about where they can be used and how they can be exchanged…
I’ve received an old note, what do I do?
The old-style £5 note remains legal tender until 5th May 2017, when businesses are no longer obliged to accept them.
After that date, the Bank of England does have an obligation to accept them – but the procedure for exchanging them can be complex.
You must use the Bank’s Exchanging Withdrawn Notes service, either in person in London or by post. However you may worry about the security of sending a large amount of cash through the post, though if you run a business outside of the capital this may be the only way to swap a large amount of notes.
What else is set to change?
The one-pound coin is also set to change in March this year. The ‘round pound’ will be replaced with a 12-sided coin, which the Bank of England says will be much harder to forge.
Small businesses which offer coin-operated services, from vending machines and laundrettes to lockers and shopping trolleys, will need to be aware of the change in order to update machines to accept the new coins. Repair company TVS recently told the Guardian that the procedure should cost no more than £100 per machine.
In the future, a new polymer £10 note is set to be introduced in summer, whilst a £20 note of the same fabric should be introduced by 2020.