The new £20 note – February 2020


The Bank of England will introduce the new polymer £20 note as legal tender into circulation on 20 February 2020.

From the 20th February 2020, a new polymer £20 note (below) will be put into circulation as legal tender. It will run concurrently with the paper £20 note until it is withdrawn from circulation.

The withdrawal date of the current £20 paper note will be announced after the the new £20 polymer note has been introduced and the Bank of England will give six months’ notice of this withdrawal date.

The new polymer note features the artist JMW Turner and incorporates two see-through windows and a two colour foil for the first time, thus making it the most secure note issued. Polymer notes last longer than paper notes and they stay in better condition during day-to-day use. This note, like the polymer £10, will contain a tactile feature to help vision impaired people identify the denomination.

The Bank of England’s Chief Cashier, Sarah John whose signature is appearing on Bank of England notes for the first time, said: “The new £20 is a really exciting next step in our move to polymer notes. This new note is our most secure, incorporating two see-through windows and a two colour foil for the first time. That makes it very hard to counterfeit and demonstrates our commitment to providing cash that can be used with confidence. Being our most common note, the transition to the new £20 is the most significant, but I am confident that retailers and businesses will adapt to the change.”

£20 note

£20 note

How businesses should prepare:

1. Continue accepting paper £20 notes: Customers are able to continue spending the paper notes until the withdrawal date. This means businesses should accept both the polymer and paper notes until the paper notes are withdrawn and their legal tender status has ended. The paper notes will be gradually withdrawn as they are deposited into banks by retailers and the public.

2. Train your staff: Business owners are encouraged to train any staff that handle money. Staff will need to be able to check both the paper and polymer £20 notes while they co-circulate.

3. Engage with banknote suppliers: Businesses may need to engage with banknote machine suppliers to ensure note accepting or dispensing machines will be updated. These include self-service checkouts, banknote authenticators and note counters.

Exchanging old notes:

You will still be able to use the paper £20 note until it is withdrawn from circulation. The withdrawal date will be announced six months’ after the new polymer £20 note is issued.

Many banks will accept withdrawn notes as deposits from customers. The Post Office may also accept withdrawn notes as a deposit into any bank account you can access at the Post Office. And, you can always exchange withdrawn notes with the Bank of England.

Training resources:

The Bank of England have provided several free training resources that includes useful and easy to follow information on how to spot the differences between real and counterfeit notes. To view them click the button below.

Click to download the training resources

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