Paper £5 notes no longer legal tender

By Liam Coleman

- Last updated on GMT

Withdrawn: the paper 'fiver' cease to be legal tender tonight, ©Thinkstock
Withdrawn: the paper 'fiver' cease to be legal tender tonight, ©Thinkstock
The paper £5 notes, featuring Elizabeth Fry on the back, will cease to be legal tender from midnight tonight (Friday 5 May). The Morning Advertiser looks at what you need to know.

How many paper fivers are still in circulation?

The most recent estimates from the Bank of England are that 150m are still in circulation – the equivalent of just under three for every adult in the UK.

Should I accept paper £5 notes after tonight?

They will no longer be legal tender so there is absolutely no obligation to accept them. But pubs are completely within their rights to accept the notes, if they wish to.

What if I still have paper £5 notes?

The Bank of England recommends that you get in touch with your bank directly, as it says the vast majority of high street banks, building societies and post offices will continue to accept paper £5 notes at face value from their customers, even after legal tender status is withdrawn.

Where can I go if my high street bank won’t take back the notes?

The Bank of England will always exchange withdrawn bank notes at face value. This can either be done at the Bank of England itself in London or by post​.

Can I give paper £5 notes as change after tonight?

A Bank of England spokesperson says: “We certainly would encourage [pubs] not to hand them out as change.” And publicans should not be surprised if customers refuse to accept them as change, they added. However, if a customer specifically asks for a paper £5 note as change, the licensee would not be breaking the law to hand one over.

Will we see more plastic notes?

The plan is for a plastic £10 note, featuring Jane Austen, to be issued in September 2017; and a £20 note, featuring the painter JMW Turner, to come into circulation at some point before 2020.

How can I be sure that I’m being given real plastic fivers?

The Morning Advertiser​ has produced a guide​ outlining what you need to know about the security features of the plastic notes.

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